JOHANNESBURG – The future of Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe remains uncertain, following his intention to resign from the position, which was made public on Monday.
Nkwe held meetings on Monday afternoon with the chairman of Cricket SA’s Board of Directors Lawson Naidoo and the organisation’s acting CEO Pholetse Moseki. “It’s all still up in the air,” Naidoo said on Monday evening, adding that discussions with Nkwe were on-going.
Nkwe will not be accompanying the Proteas to Sri Lanka, where the team will be playing a limited overs series next month. The extra baggage from Monday’s developments are set to weigh heavy on the players and management.
Nkwe’s intention to resign, made known in a letter that was received by the Board at the weekend, couldn’t have come at a worse time for CSA, amidst the on-going testimony at the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings. Critically, confirmation of Nkwe's decision came just hours after the Proteas head coach, Mark Boucher had made public his submission to the SJN, in which he offered an apology for his inappropriate behaviour during his playing days, which had been the subject of testimony earlier during the hearings.
The exact reasons for Nkwe’s intention to resign are not known. He did not travel with the side to the West Indies for the Test series in June, with CSA claiming that was due to “family responsibility leave”. He did fulfill duties subsequently for the T20 series in the Caribbean and later in Ireland for the national side’s tour there.
His resignation, whatever the reasons, will rock the sport, which has been under a cloud, after numerous ex-players and officials, testifying under oath, have alleged racial discrimination to the SJN hearings.
Nkwe, an all-rounder in his playing days, was made head coach of the Lions franchise team in 2018 after a few years working in the Netherlands and in the 2018/19 season helped the Lions win two trophies; the Four-Day Series and the domestic T20 competition, while he was also head coach of the Jozi Stars franchise that won the inaugural Mzansi Super League competition that season.
Following the sacking of Ottis Gibson after the 2019 World Cup, Nkwe was made interim team director, a newly created position as part of a new management structure for the Proteas. His first task was a tour to India in October 2019, where the side drew a T20 series with the hosts, but were then subsequently thumped by India in a three match Test series.
The upheaval in Cricket SA that followed, saw the national team’s management structure return to a more conventional one, with Nkwe, made the assistant and Boucher the head coach. That decision, made by CSA’s then newly installed Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, caused plenty of controversy, particularly when some of the consultants used by the national team at the time were all white males.