DURBAN – New South African coach Ottis Gibson believes that the Proteas have all the ingredients to be a World Cup-winning side in 2019.
Gibson, who was speaking ahead of the third Test between England and the West Indies, in London, is expected in South Africa before the start of the home series against Bangladesh.
“Every team wants to win a global tournament. South Africa has never won one, and that’s obviously one of their big things,” he told English media when asked about his future employers.
“You look at South Africa and the players they can potentially put on the field, and there is no reason why they can’t win the World Cup in 2019,” he reasoned.
“That would be something great for me as a coach and also them as a country. There is a very strong sporting culture in South Africa, so to do something like that would be amazing.”
Having previously played in South Africa, Gibson will know only too well how desperately the national team – and its followers – crave a world crown, and that will be the cornerstone of his mission over the next two years.
“That was a massive part of how Cricket South Africa pitched the job,” he explained.
The current England bowling coach has been tasked with transforming years of Proteas pain into a title-winning side in the next World Cup, and it is no surprise that his plans around that were a focal point of negotiations before he got the job.
Under Russell Domingo, South Africa fell agonisingly in 2015, losing to New Zealand in an unforgettable semi-final in Auckland.
Since then, they have slipped further down the pecking order, with a dismal 2017 Champions Trophy marking the end of the Domingo era. “I’ve learnt a lot over my years as head coach of the West Indies and in my two stints at England,” Gibson said of his credentials.
As head coach of West Indies, he helped secure the T20 World Cup, combining a complex range of characters and skills into a cohesive unit.
In the South African dressing-room, he may find less drama, especially as AB de Villiers has finally seen sense and stepped aside for Faf du Plessis to be the captain in 50-over cricket, too.
De Villiers the player is now available in all formats, and that will be pleasing for Gibson, who took on a South African team missing the talisman on the recent tour of the UK.
De Villiers had said that he would wait to know who would be the next national coach before deciding on his future, so one can surmise that he is motivated to work under the highly-rated Gibson.
“I was chosen as the person to come in and take the team forward, and I’m absolutely looking forward to that and getting over there,” he said ahead of his final assignments with the England squad.
He will have precious little time to settle, with the first Test against Bangladesh on September 28.