OUR dalliance with Test cricket should not only be about competitiveness but also winning which is why we need someone who shares such a vision to coach the national team.
Independent Sports View with Kevin Mapasure
For that reason Steve Mangongo stands out among possible candidates as the best option.
I have chatted with many coaches both in the national team and franchises, and most are content with seeing Zimbabwe at least competing and batting twice in Tests.
Yes at one point batting twice was an achievement but it’s time to move on, something we should have done a long time ago, and one person who has impressed me on that note is Mangongo.
I remember him nailing batsmen Tatenda Taibu and Brendan Taylor for their shortcomings when somehow Zimbabwe managed a defeat from the brink of a win against New Zealand in a Test match in Bulawayo last year.
For too long we have entertained this myth that Zimbabwe’s abilities are only limited to offering decent competition and winning is still an overambitious target, but this belief must be binned.
Mangongo’s passion for success and his self-belief, which can only rub off onto the players, is as important as his expertise in cricket.
Competitiveness is clearly no longer good enough hence it is reassuring we have somebody who has more ambition and has applied for the coaching job. It would be great if Mangongo was given the chance.
Mangongo’s doubters will probably point out the guy has not played cricket at the highest level. His CV tells us he has played first class cricket for Mashonaland and the President’s XI. He coached the Under-19 national team to plate glory at the 2002 World Cup in New Zealand.
While the playing experience argument may appear to have its merits, these can be easily punctured.
Real Madrid coach Josē Mourinho never kicked the ball as a professional, but he is one of the best coaches around and his record speaks for itself.
What applies to football may not necessarily follow in cricket, but Mangongo has already been more successful as a coach than he was as a player.
On the other hand outstanding players do not necessarily make fine coaches which is why Heath Streak and Grant Flower should not be hurried ahead of Mangongo in the queue.
Mangongo has a reservoir of experience and technical ability. He has excelled in player management, dressing room command and knowledge of the demands of the modern game.
His teams play positively all the time and try to win, exactly what captain Brendan Taylor has demanded of his players. This is precisely what cricket fans have come to expect in recent years.
Mangongo demands his senior batsmen make useful big scores, not hit half centuries or centuries in losing causes.
Mangongo can transform average players into competitive ones. He identified and nurtured Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Elton Chigumbura and Vusi Sibanda, among many others, and deserves to finish the work he started with them.
Manicaland won the first class competition, the 50-overs and the T-20 competitions under his guidance. He also led Mountaineers in the popular Stanbic T-20 championships as well as the Met Bank Pro-40 competition.
Mangongo won the ZC Coach of the Year award twice in 2009 and 2010 before winning the Coach of the Year award at the Annual National Sports Awards.
He has also worked as a national selector among other various roles. What more does he need to get the job?