Malibongwe Maketa said every stone was turned over the last two years to ensure the Proteas were ready to launch an assault on the elusive golden trophy. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

DURHAM – A nation may still be reeling from the Proteas’ disastrous results at the World Cup, but assistant coach Malibongwe Maketa believes nobody is hurting more than everyone inside the dressing room.

According to Maketa, every stone was turned over the last two years to ensure the players were ready to launch an assault on the elusive golden trophy.

Plans and preparation were in place, even relating to Imran Tahir opening the bowling and David Miller being used as a substitute wicket-keeper in case of an emergency.

The fact that it has gone so horribly wrong in such a short space of time has left the management perplexed and eager to salvage what’s left of their reputations over the course of the next two games, starting against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street in Durham on Friday.

“We’ve dedicated the last two years to coming here and win the tournament. We can’t let two weeks’ work reflect badly on us. We need to make sure we really finish strong.

“As much as we’re playing for millions of people back home, we need to make sure we walk away from this World Cup and justify why we’re here,” Maketa said.

“The way we see ourselves representing our country, we want to make sure that we finish off on a high. We’ve got a few players who are finishing after this World Cup.

“Two victories here will go a long way, rather than just one victory. That will be our legacy of the World Cup, and we don’t want to let ourselves down.”

Although Maketa is rarely seen in the spotlight, with the former Warriors coach preferring to do all the hard work behind the scenes, he will now be lumped as part of the 2019 World Cup disaster.

This would be a real setback for the 38-year-old, who would have been considered a front-runner to succeed Ottis Gibson after serving an international apprenticeship over the past two years.

Maketa fully understands the realities though, but hopes that this dismal World Cup campaign will not be the determining factor going forward.

“It’s a bit tough for all of us – we haven’t performed as well as we would have liked, and we have to suffer the consequences of that,” he said.

“We are willing to take responsibility, but hopefully we will be judged on more than what we have done here. A lot of good work was done before. Hopefully that counts for something.

“If heads do roll, then we can look back and say we’ve given it our best shot. We came here to win, and it hasn’t happened.

“We want to make sure we leave Cricket South Africa in a better place than when we took over. It might not look like it now, but we think we have contributed.”

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