The Warriors' Jon Jon Smuts with head coach Rivash Gobind (right). Photo: BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH – Former South African Under-19 cricketer, and a leading force behind the tremendous success of the current Warriors franchise, Rivash Gobind, has stepped down as head coach, to take up an international post with Afghanistan.

Gobind is to become part of the Afghanistan national cricket team’s management and coaching structure.

He will be leaving the Warriors before the end of October.

Gobind captained both KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa Under-19s and is a certified level 3 coach. In addition to his cricketing accomplishments, he holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

He was appointed assistant coach of the Warriors in August 2016, and head coach from the start of the 2017 season. Warriors have enjoyed their most successful seasons in recent years under his stewardship.

Gobind expressed his thorough enjoyment of having had the opportunity to be involved with Warriors cricket over the last three years, and the hardship he is facing of having to say goodbye to his team: “I hope I have left them in a better space than when I started.

“There is no reason why the success of this team won’t continue.

“This is an international cricket opportunity I can’t turn down. It is bittersweet because I do feel that we were really achieving something here with Warriors cricket, and it is going to be tough to walk away from it. 

“I will miss the Eastern Cape. It’s a lovely part of the country and what I have really enjoyed is the warmth people have shown me here. They don’t call Port Elizabeth the ‘friendly city’ for nothing.”

Cricket Eastern Cape chief executive Dr Mark Williams said: “Rivash is an exceptional person and a brilliant coach. It is a loss for us as cricket in the Eastern Cape, but this is an exciting opportunity for him. We wish him well on this new journey.

“I also want to thank him and commend him for what he has done for the Warriors."

Warriors captain Jon-Jon Smuts said: “What Rivash has done with the team over the last few years has been unbelievable, but we are all extremely proud and happy for him. To get international recognition is amazing.

“It’s a massive tribute to the Warriors franchise that we are getting people recognised at the highest level. We really wish him all the best."

Williams says the process of recruiting a new head coach has already started.

African News Agency (ANA)