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Mangongo shown exit door

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ZIMBABWE cricket team head coach Stephen Mangongo has been relieved of his duties barely five months into his tenure as national team boss in the aftermath of a disastrous Bangladesh tour recently.

MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
SPORTS REPORTER

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Wilson Manase made the announcement at a Press conference in Harare yesterday.

He said the new technical team would be named soon after the Christmas holiday while Mangongo has been demoted to an unspecified role in the national Under-19 team set-up.

“Today (Thursday) we held a board meeting to look at the reports from the disappointing tour of Bangladesh and in this regard we have unanimously agreed to relieve Stephen Mangongo of the position of national team coach,” Manase said.

“Because we are going to the World Cup very soon, we needed to be very astute in decision making so we are having in place a process of identifying a coach who is going to be coming in, he might be an international figure or a local person but we will conclude our process after Christmas and then let you know,” the ZC boss added.

Speculation is now rife as to who will succeed Mangongo with Alistair Campbell, who has been linked with the new role of managing director in the team, is now tipped to take over. Other reports yesterday also suggested that former Zimbabwe batsman Murray Goodwin could replace Mangongo.
Mangongo has been under major scrutiny from the media since his appointment to the post back in July on whether he is capable of turning around Zimbabwe’s fading fortunes and reputation on the world stage.

It appears his major downfall was his lack of management skills and heavy-handedness on his dressing room, resulting in many reported clashes with players – a situation that could have seriously affected the confidence of the team in the field of play.

Under Mangongo’s reign, the national cricket team recorded only three wins in 20 matches, four of which were Tests.

An unexpected 8 – 0 whitewash in the harsh subcontinent conditions of Bangladesh in both Tests and ODIs last month proved to be the final straw on Mangongo’s stormy reign as Zimbabwe cricket team coach.

The sacking of the former Mountaineers coach comes barely two months before the start of the ICC World Cup pencilled for Australia and New Zealand in February.
ZC has defended its timing in making the crucial technical team shakeup.

“I assure you that the timing is good, it’s not a kneejerk decision. There is ample time for the new coach to prepare for the World Cup because the guy who is coming in is a very experienced coach. Sometimes decisions have to be made no matter how hard,” Manase ascertained.

On Mangongo’s future, Manase said: “I tell you Steve has been pivotal in the identification of cricket talent in this country with players like Tatenda Taibu and many others coming to mind so we believe he has some role to play and we have reassigned him to deal with the Under-19s.”

Convener of selectors, Givemore Makoni, who is Mangongo’s trusted lieutenant was spared the axe and will now lead a widened selection panel which is set to include the head coach, the assistant coach, the team captain and the deputy convener of selectors.

It’s a move which the ZC cricket hopes will bring positive results for the national team at the upcoming 2015 ICC World Cup.

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