Four Vie For Zim Cricket Coach Post

ZIMBABWE Cricket’s top brass will early next week meet to pore through four applications for the post of national team coach.

IndependentSport can reveal the identity of the four men who have applied as British national Colin Siller, former Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran, Zimbabwe “A” coach Stephen Mangongo and incumbent national side coach Walter Chawaguta.

Zimbabwe Cricket recently invited applications for the two coaching posts for the national team and “A” side.

Current national coach Chawaguta was given a short-term contract in August when he replaced Robin Brown, and the recent ODI series whitewash by Sri Lanka might have prompted ZC’s to look at other options although the board insists that the application process is meant to formalise the appointment procedure.

Siller, a Scotsman, is currently the national coach of cricket minnows Fiji. He is a former club cricketer and played as a spin bowler. The 38-year-old Siller was previously headhunted by ZC in 2006 to become national team assistant coach and coach education manager.

He started coaching in 1990 in his native Scotland. He moved to New Zealand in 1992, in the Hutt Valley in Wellington and coached there for four seasons at club and representative level. In 1995 he was signed as a professional player/coach for the Holywood club in Belfast and spent two years.

In 1997 he signed for Instonians, one of the top clubs in Ireland. In 1999 he started coaching at youth international level in Ireland where Irish age-group teams won many European Championships.

In 2003 Siller became an English Cricket Board Level 3 coach. The following year he was nominated by the late Bob Woolmer, who was then the ICC High Performance Manager, to become the assistant coach for Canada for the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland, where the North Americans qualified for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

In 2005 after the Ashes series, the ECB invited Siller to apply for the position of bowling coach for England after Troy Cooley left the job.

Rusape-born Curran re-placed West Indian Phil Simmons as Zimbabwe national coach in 2005. During his reign Curran (49) was constantly criticised for his approach where he encouraged his players to play “safe” cricket by just batting out the 50 overs.

A top-class all-rounder for Zimbabwe, Curran played in two World Cups in 1983 and 1987. For a decade, from the mid 1980s, he was one of the most effective overseas players in English cricket for the Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire counties.

He was previously Zimbabwe’s assistant coach before moving west to take charge of Namibia. After close to two years as head coach, he was replaced by his former Zimbabwe teammate Robin Brown last year. He is currently employed by ZC as high performance coach/manager, and seems to be held in high regard by his employers.

Mangongo, the least favourite of the four, has been involved in all facets of the game as a founding stalwart of Takashinga Cricket Club, and then he was Zimbabwe Under 19 coach, chief of selectors and national team assistant coach.  His temperament is his major flaw as he is seen as a fiery and impatient character.

36-year-old Chawaguta, who is not keen to give up his job without a fight, could have the recent whitewash by Sri Lanka — to a great extent blamed on his tactical shortcomings — as a dent to his CV. But he too has a number of backers in ZC circles.

Meanwhile, national team assistant/bowling coach Douglas Hondo and Zimbabwe Women coach Emmanuel Dube are the only known applicants for the “A” side job.

BY ENOCK MUCHINJO

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