The Lions field during a Sunfoil Series match. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - The Highveld Lions hope to reveal the identity their next head coach by the end of the week following interviews that took place on Wednesday.

The Lions received seven applications for the position, which became vacant at the end of last season when Geoffrey Toyana was moved into the role as high performance coach by the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB). 

David Terbrugge, who played seven Tests for the Proteas, and spent his entire playing career with Gauteng, led the interviews of the three candidates who were shortlisted for the position.

Terbrugge, who also serves on the board at Gauteng Cricket, will in conjunction with the interview panel, submit the successful candidate’s name to a full sitting of the board. The GCB’s chief executive Greg Fredericks said he hoped the new coach could be revealed by Friday.

“I was quite surprised by some of the applications we received and overall I’m very happy with the quality of the candidates who forwarded their names,” said Fredericks, who added, that all the applicants were South African.

Among the favourites to take over from Toyana, are Enoch Nkwe - a former coach of the Gauteng Strikers semi-professional team - who has been coaching club cricket in the Netherlands for the last three years and Lawrence Mahatlane, the SA Under-19 coach, who was also an assistant coach at the Lions before Toyana took over in 2013. 

The search for a new coach has not had an adverse effect on the signing of players, according to Fredericks. Malusi Siboto and young seamer Migael Pretorius will be available for the Lions next summer, while Ryan Rickleton, a big hitting top order batsman, has put pen to paper on a deal as well.

All-rounder Wiaan Mulder, who’d been the subject of much speculation regarding his future, will stay at the franchise. The 20-year-old, who still has a year left on his contract, was eyeing a move to the Titans and there was also interest in his services from the Knights, but Fredericks is hoping to tie him down to a two year deal soon.

Meanwhile, Toyana, after a short break, got to work immediately in his new role on Wednesday, by emailing all the club coaches in the province, asking for their input on how to improve various structures throughout the province.

Toyana’s new job, according to the GCB, includes talent identification, retention and managing the elite development levels for both North West and Gauteng Cricket.

The Star

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