Five possible candidates to replace Enoch Nkwe at the Proteas
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CAPE TOWN - Enoch Nkwe’s resignation as Proteas assistant coach this week was a shock to everyone, including Cricket South Africa who tried their level best to convince the former Highveld Lions coach to remain with the national team.
However, their efforts were in vain and acting chief executive Pholetsi Moseki now has the task of finding a suitable replacement just six weeks out of the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
IOL Sport’s Zaahier Adams examines the credentials of five possible replacements.
1. Malibongwe Maketa
The current South Africa A coach has performed the role before, forming part of former head coach Ottis Gibson’s support staff. He, therefore, would fit in seamlessly as he knows the duties of a national team’s assistant coach. It was always believed that Maketa was an unfortunate casualty of the failed 2019 World Cup campaign as he was one of the most promising coaches in the country while at the Warriors prior to his elevation to the Proteas. At one stage it appeared as he would be lost to the system entirely before being incorporated into the SA “A” team set-up, who he recently led on a successful tour of Zimbabwe. With the limited activity the SA “A” side is currently experiencing due to Covid-19 restrictions on teams travelling, restoring Maketa to his previous position could be the least disruptive choice.
2. Geoff Toyana
A former prospective Proteas coach back in 2017, as was categorically stated by former CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe at the recent SJN hearings, Toyana has lost his way since his initial trophy-winning success with the Highveld Lions. The former left-handed batsman has occupied various fringe roles in interim, having been Adrian Birrell’s assistant at the Paarl Rocks in the Mzansi Super League, Northerns’ semi-pro coach, and Titans assistant coach. Now could be a good time to right the wrongs of the past and finally give Toyana his crack at international cricket – albeit in an assistant role.
3. Mandla Mashimbyi
The Titans head coach arguably has the inside lane considering he was called up to stand in for Nkwe on the recent tour of the West Indies. He is also once again on the plane with Proteas for their tour to Sri Lanka after bowling coach Charl Langeveldt was forced to stay at home due to Covid-19 regulations. Mashimbyi would certainly be a good fit for the role due to previously having been head coach Mark Boucher’s assistant at the Titans and the duo do enjoy a good working relationship. The only drawback would be that Mashimbyi’s primary skill is bowling, and the Proteas already have Langeveldt’s expertise on their support staff.
4. Wandile Gwavu
The current CSA Coach of the Year is a young and ambitious coach that has enjoyed great success with the Highveld Lions since succeeding Nkwe at the Wanderers. Only 33, Gwavu still has plenty of years to learn his trade but he has shown the ability to step up whenever he has been thrown in the deep end. It would be ideal if he could remain at the Bullring and continue his good work with the Lions, but at the same time it is an opportunity for CSA to show good foresight in creating a sustainable future development programme in grooming the next Proteas coach. Promoting Gwavu to the international stage would be a step in this direction.
5. Robin Peterson
The former Proteas left-arm spinner would not be seen as an automatic fit with head coach Mark Boucher, but Peterson’s introduction into the national team set-up could just be what’s required, especially ahead of the T20 World Cup. Peterson has shown during his time as head coach of the Warriors that his team plays an audacious brand of cricket, particularly in the shortest format, where he has managed to utilise precious little resources and transformed them into challengers during last season’s CSA T20 competition. “Robbie P” draws his knowledge on having played and coached in the Caribbean Premier League, where arguably the best T20 cricketers in the world hail from, and has embraced the West Indies’ “no fear” approach to T20s. It may prove to be a clash with Boucher’s ideologies, but it could also be the bold move that wakes up what is a very dreary Proteas T20 outfit.