Mehluli Sibanda in PAARL, South Africa
WHEN the Zimbabwe national cricket team takes on South Africa in the third One Day International at the picturesque Boland Park in Paarl this afternoon, they will have a local man behind them throughout.
Zimbabwe Sables coach, Peter de Villiers has fallen in love with Zimbabwean sporting teams with the South African yesterday declaring that he will be behind the Chevrons in his hometown of Paarl when they battle his countrymen. Yesterday afternoon, PDV came to Boland Park where the Chevrons conducted a training session, had a chat with Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput, skipper Hamilton Masakadza and bowling mentor Douglas Hondo.
De Villiers feels that the Zimbabwean players let South Africa off the hook in Bloemfontein on Wednesday when the Proteas recovered from 101/7 to post 198, which they successfully defended to beat the Chevrons by 120 runs.
“I am supporting Zimbabwe every day of my life, I am just coming here specifically to be here with the boys. Looking at game in Bloemfontein, I feel we made it slip, we might just be our biggest enemies at the moment,’’ De Villiers said.
With De Villiers residing next to Harare Sports Club when in Zimbabwe, he spends a lot of time with the national cricketers when they hold their training sessions at the venue. He also attended most of Zimbabwe’s matches during the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Harare at the beginning of the year.
“I’ve got faith for tomorrow and especially going forward into the next tours. I am supporting Zimbabwe because I know most of these players, I am watching them everyday training, I know how hard they work and I know that they all want to do well,’’ he said.
On what advice he gave to the Zimbabweans ahead of tomorrow’s match, De Villiers said they should not field first in the scorching heat in Paarl.
De Villiers was hired by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union on a two-year contract in February this year with his mandate being to take the Sables to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Even though the 61-year old failed in that mission, the ZRU board last Saturday decided to let him finish his tenure.