Nurture, develop talent — Mangongo Steve Mangongo

Brandon Moyo-Sports Reporter

FORMER Chevrons head coach Steve Mangongo has praised the three-day high performance program for Under-25s at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo saying that it is important to nurture and develop the country’s next generation of stars. 

The highly renowned development gaffer is the head coach of the national Under-25 side that is on a three-day program at the city’s home of cricket. The players were divided into two teams (Northerns and Southerns) and played their first one-day match on Sunday and another yesterday. 

Mangongo is impressed with the way things have fared so far and believes that the group of players undergoing the program will go on to make it big when they transition into the first team set-up in the years to come. 

They are an emerging side for Zimbabwe Cricket. The high-performance program is used to select a team that will represent Zimbabwe at the upcoming 2024 All Africa Games which will be hosted by Ghana early next month. This year’s games will be the first to feature cricket. 

“It is very important that we develop and nurture the upcoming talent and as part of that pathway, we staged these regionals which are going to run for three days and today (Sunday) we saw some quality good cricket all round.

“The bowlers bowled with gas and with pace and we are very hopeful that these guys will come through. Chataira (Takudzwa) bowled very fast and we had — with the bat — Musekiwa (Tashinga), he scored 80 not out and that ability to construct an innings is one thing which has been lacking at Zimbabwe Cricket and to finish off games. 

“So it is good to see these youngsters being able to finish off games. We had also young Bright Phiri putting up a partnership and Ryan Kamwemba — straight from Under-19 putting a 78 run partnership, so these are the things we want our young cricketers to learn at this age so that when they make the transition into the national set-up, they have the skill, knowledge and the capacity to become international cricketers,” said Mangongo. 

Mangongo is one of the celebrated coaches in the country, is a holder of an International Cricket Council (ICC) qualified international coach and in the past years has been involved with development projects. He is credited for nurturing some of the country’s finest cricketers. He also coached the Zimbabwe Under-19s team. 

In the opening match on Sunday, the Northerns won by six wickets after successfully chasing a target of 213 runs in 35,5 overs. Northerns had bowled out the Southerns Under-25s for 212 runs in 41,4 overs. 

It was Priviledge Chesa (3/48 in 9,4 overs), Prosper Mugeri (3/24 in seven overs) and Chataira (2/55 in 10 overs) who starred with the ball for Northerns, who were asked to bowl first. The 15-year-old Malachi Harry took one scalp for 41 runs in his five-over spell. Tawanda Maposa had a memorable outing with the bat for Southerns, scoring an unbeaten half century to finish on 50 runs off just 35 balls. Alvin Chiradza fell eight runs short of his half-century on 42 runs from 51 balls. 

In their chase, Northerns Under-25s lost the wicket of Phiri who was run out on 44 runs after facing 73 balls before Musekiwa and Kamwemba saw the team through with a brilliant fifth wicket partnership. Musekiwa finished unbeaten on 84 runs from 68 balls while Kamwemba made 41 runs not out off 29 deliveries. 

Trevor Gwandu (1/24 in seven overs), Kudakwashe Macheka (1/43 in eight overs) and Maposa (1/41 in six overs) took the wickets for Southerns Under-25s. 

The high performance program comes to a close today with two matches lined up. The youngsters will play two T20 matches today to bring the program to an end. The first match will be played in the morning and the last one of the day will follow in the afternoon.

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