CSA to appoint Enoch Nkwe’s successor before T20 World Cup
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JOHANNESBURG – Mark Boucher’s new assistant, will initially be a temporary appointment, with October’s T20 World Cup seen as a priority for Cricket SA.
Enoch Nkwe’s decision to resign as the Proteas men’s team’s assistant coach stunned the organisation and the national team, which was still enroute to Sri Lanka when the announcement was officially made on Tuesday night. The timing of Nkwe’s decision couldn’t have been worse for CSA, which has had a dark cloud over it, amidst the testimonies being heard at the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings.
In addition to the resignation itself, among the reasons outlined for it were that Nkwe was unhappy with “functioning and culture of the team environment.”
Cricket SA’s Board of Directors said that Nkwe’s concerns will be the subject of an investigation. On Wednesday afternoon, the federation’s acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki said the manner in which that inquiry will occur is still to be determined. “We could get someone impartial to do it, or it could be done internally. It will be up to one of the Board committees to decide that,” said Moseki.
“Thusfar, we’ve only heard from one side, and that is Enoch, so we need to engage with everyone in the team.”
That will prove to be a logistical challenge, given that the Proteas are in Sri Lanka for the next few weeks, with some of the players heading straight from there to the United Arab Emirates to fulfill duties in the Indian Premier League. Those players that do return, including the limited overs captain Temba Bavuma, will only be in the country for about a week, before they too have to fly to the UAE to observe Covid protocols ahead of the T20 World Cup.
The Board put Moseki in charge of overseeing the process to find Nkwe’s replacement. That process started almost immediately on Tuesday night, with Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, who is responsible for all national teams, at the forefront in doing the search, that will also include canvassing ideas from the current management.
“For now it is going to be for the T20 World Cup, because it’s really urgent that we have someone in the role for that tournament. Anything beyond that, is just looking too far ahead,” said Moseki.
Cricket SA’s president, Rihan Richards, confirmed that Nkwe’s resignation will be one of the main topics for discussion at this weekend’s meeting of CSA’s Members Council – the body comprising the provincial presidents. Richards said he received a cursory briefing on the Nkwe issue. “It is a matter that affects us all,” he said.
Nkwe had been the Proteas’ ‘team director’ during the 2019 tour to India. It was a newly formulated position as part of a new structure around the national team for that trip. Amidst the upheaval at administrative level in the weeks following the India tour, ahead of the home series against England in December that year, Nkwe found himself going from the top of the coaching structure to being an assistant with the newly employed Smith, explaining that the Proteas needed Boucher’s international playing experience.
Nkwe as head coach of the Lions franchise team in 2018 won two trophies; the Four-Day Series and the domestic T20 competition, while he also led the Jozi Stars franchise to the inaugural Mzansi Super League title that season.
In confirming his resignation, CSA stated that every effort was made to retain Nkwe. “Enoch has decided to focus on personal growth and professional development," CSA stated, adding that the door remained open for the 38 year old to return to the system.