Chigumbura appointed Takaz head coach

Zim cricket managing director Givemore Makoni and Elton Chigumbura.

FORMER Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura has been appointed head coach of Takashinga Cricket Club for the four-match T20 series against the Uganda national team starting  on Sunday in Highfield, Harare.

The  next matches wil be on November 14, 15 and 19 and afterwards, Uganda will square off against Zimbabwe U-25 Select side in two day and night matches next weekend.

The former all-rounder and hard hitter of the game retired from international cricket in November 2020 after an eventful and glittering career spurning for 16 years. He pursued coaching badges and has found home at his former club where he is heading the club’s second team, Takashinga 2 Patriots which he guided to a National Premier League T20 Blast triumph last month. The east African side has requested Takashinga to host them and help them prepare for the International Cricket Council Men’s T20I World Cup Africa qualifier scheduled for Namibia from November 22.

“It’s always a great honour to represent the club in any capacity and just like any other opportunity that I have been given by Takashinga, I will take it with both hands. I’m greatly honoured and we just want to go and represent the club well when we play against Uganda,” Chigumbura told NewsDay Sport.

“It means a lot given that from a young age, Takashinga is the only club that I have played for and represented. Now being part of the coaching staff it means a lot. There have been so many stages in my life evolving from a player and now on the coaching side. It’s a great honour being part of a great family like Takashinga. There’s no better way of expressing my gratitude and honour towards the recognition that I have been given to coach the team than to go out there and usher instructions from the pavilion for this great club."

Takashinga, the spiritual home of Black cricket in the country got its international hosting status at the June World Cup Qualifiers as they hosted the tie between West Indies and US.

The international hosting venue status came with a change in the mindset. An academy house has since been erected at the property as they eye world-class standards.

Uganda visited the Highfield-based club before and are now on their second tour of duty.

“These games mean a lot to us. Obviously playing against a national side as a club tests our ability and also gives the opportunity and exposure for our players to play against national team players,” he said.

“That friendship between Uganda Cricket and our club we also cherish it so much because not many national teams give us that kind of opportunity, so we don’t take it for granted. We just need to make sure that this friendship continues to grow strong going forward.”

The club has won two domestic championships this year, the NPL 45 won by Takashinga 1 Patriots and NPL T20 Blast going to Chigumbura’s Takashinga 2. It will be interesting to see how Chigumbura and his selection panel will pick a squad to represent the club.

“Obviously it’s going to be a tough selection but it also gives an opportunity to some of the young players and the much-needed exposure. This weekend some of the guys will be playing franchise cricket, so in the first game we might give an opportunity to some of those guys who have been doing well for the club and have been pushing hard for recognition,” Chigumbura said.

“As for the mid-week game, it’s going to be a tougher selection because we are looking to pick the best 11 out of the two teams that represent Takashinga. In short, it will be fireworks and fans should look out for some exciting games of cricket and victories from the Takashinga side.”

Uganda all-rounder Kenny Waiswa, who has some Takashinga blood in him having played for the club in his maiden domestic season in Zimbabwe last year, is looking forward to the series. Waiswa was joined by his fellow countryman Ivan Thawithemwira at Takashinga.

“It’s always good to be in Zimbabwe and at Takashinga in particular. It has grown to be my second home, and I love every bit about the country and club,” said Waiswa.

“This is also a perfect opportunity for us to fine-tune for the qualifiers in Namibia against a quality opposition. We expect a tough series against Takasinga.”

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