Cricket Namibia fires youth coach…successor unveiled within hours

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23 July 2015; Stephen Baard, Namibia, in action against Oman bowler Munis Ansari. ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, Play-Off 4, Oman v Namibia. Malahide, Dublin. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / ICC / SPORTSFILE

Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-In a shock move, New Era Sport has been reliably informed that Cricket Namibia (CN) has ushered its wily youth coach Norbert Manyande through the exit door.

Reliable sources revealed that the Zimbabwean national’s employment contract was summarily terminated at the end of February, although questions are being asked as to why the media was not informed of Manyande’s departure, while the identity of his successor is also being kept secret.

It’s believed his successor was installed the same day the likeable Zimbabwean was shown the door – meaning the position was never advertised to give local coaches an equal opportunity to apply for the vacancy.

Serious questions are also being raised about the acceleration of the newly installed under-19 national youth cricket team mentor’s work permit, if he has indeed been given the green light, whilst a cloud of doubt hangs over his international coaching pedigree.

Statistics within the corridors of CN reveal that the sacked Manyande was arguably the most decorated coach in the history of the embattled union, backed by his impressive résumé.

The dreadlocked Zimbabwean had mentored a significant number of national youth teams since his arrival in Namibia in 2012 – ranging from the under-13, 15 and 17 teams, whilst his record with the under-19 youth team speaks volumes.

Manyande’s win-ratio holds more victories than defeats, while his record with the under-19 cricket side dwarfs that of all the other coaches who preceded him when he took over the coaching reigns in 2012.

Under Manyande’s stewardship, previously labeled as “the whipping boys of international cricket” at youth level, the much-improved Namibians qualified for three successive world cup finals.

He twice lifted the coveted under-19 African Qualifier Trophy and rewrote the history books when he steered the team to an unprecedented 7th place finish at the World Youth championships, earning automatic qualification for next year’s ICC World cup finals.

In 2013, the national under-19 Cricket side was voted Best Team of the Year at the National Sports Commission (NSC) Annual Sports Awards.

Ironically, the very same Cricket Namibia voted the now-dismissed Manyande as their Best Coach of the Year last year – only to be deemed surplus to requirement a few months later.

History will show that the reward of former national senior team coach Doug Watson, who also coached the under-19 side at the ICC World Cup in Australia – where the team ended with the wooden spoon in the 16-nation tourney – was elevation to the national senior cricket team, despite the team’s lukewarm showing.

Manyande’s acrimonious departure has left the cricket family divided, with some accusing the powers that be at the helm of CN of trying by all means to keep cricket for the elites, including the untouchable “royal family”.

In the meantime, New Era Sport has established that all is not well within CN, given the latest resignation of women’s coach, Gareth Cloete, who cited mistreatment at the hands of the board, whom he openly accused of protecting their families and offspring.

In other shocking news, former fitness coach Clint Henry has also been axed to make way for Jeanine Snyman, spouse to one of the board members, while national selectors have also resigned in quick succession, with national selection convener Peter Davidson and Melt van Schoor amongst the departures.

Approached to shed light on Manyande’s sacking, CN chief executive officer Dr Donovan Zealand responded by switching off his mobile phone with a curt message, saying: “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.”

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