No bad blood as Nkwe, Boucher plot new way forward: ‘We walked away with smiles’


Mark Boucher and Enoch Nkwe might have to split up to help the Proteas juggle their assignments against Pakistan and Australia (Gallo Images)

Mark Boucher and Enoch Nkwe might have to split up to help the Proteas juggle their assignments against Pakistan and Australia (Gallo Images)

  • Enoch Nkwe was officially unveiled as Cricket SA’s new Director of Cricket on Friday. 
  • Nkwe has already had productive meetings with the Proteas and their head coach, Mark Boucher.
  • Nkwe resigned as assistant coach under Boucher in August last year.

South Africa’s new Director of Cricket (DoC) Enoch Nkwe has met with Proteas head coach Mark Boucher, saying the pair “walked away with smiles on our faces”.

That was always going to be the major talking point at Nkwe’s official unveiling held in Johannesburg on Friday, given his sudden resignation as Boucher’s assistant coach back in August last year.

So much has happened since then, with Boucher placed at the centre of a storm that saw Cricket South Africa (CSA) accuse him of discriminatory behaviour and gross misconduct before moving for his dismissal.

CSA eventually dropped those accusations, backing Boucher to see his contract out until the end of 2023, but when Nkwe was named Graeme Smith’s replacement as DoC last week, it provided another complication in what has been a hugely challenging time for the organisation.

Would Nkwe and Boucher be able to work together again, given everything that has happened? Would Boucher accept that Nkwe had resigned as his assistant, only to become his superior less than a year later?

These questions have lingered since Nkwe was confirmed, but on Friday, he was calm, composed and assured in fully extinguishing any such suggestions of potential conflict.

“I hadn’t seen Mark since last August and, at first, it was a bit strange,” he said.

“We had a great meeting. I know a whole lot of people will speak about how there were deeper-level issues, but Mark and I actually have a good relationship, and there is nothing personal.

“That was very evident yesterday, and we met for more than an hour and ended up laughing.

“He is also excited to be working with me, and we spoke to such lengths about me being in a position now where we can actually get the best out of each other and lead South Africa forward.

“I will give him as much support as possible to be successful in his space as a coach. The meeting was awesome, and I’m glad we could meet in person before the team left (for England).”

Nkwe did not hide from the fact that he had experienced difficulties during his tenure as assistant coach, while he also pointed to the work the Proteas had done recently in addressing their team culture.

“We all walked away with smiles on our faces and a lot of excitement,” he said.

“I had a good engagement with the team and there is a lot more clarity now in terms of my position.

“Nothing is perfect, and if we lived in a perfect world, there wouldn’t be work that needed to be done. There are always going to be differences in different set-ups, and sometimes if things don’t balance out, you’ve got to be professional enough to accept that maybe you’re better placed somewhere else where you can also make an impact.

“A lot of people have spoken about culture, and I’m happy that when I met with the two captains and Mark, they understood exactly where I was coming from.

“I know for a fact that over the last couple of months, things have turned out very positively, which I’ve been happy to see.

“Those issues that were there, I know that the team and Mark have dealt with them, and they are actually in a very good space. When I walked into that environment yesterday, I could feel that energy.”

Nkwe will be joining the Proteas in England briefly, but will not be staying for the entire tour as matters such as coaching conferences and development strategies require his attention in South Africa.

“I think a lot of people think that the DoC is the DoC of the Proteas, but that is not the case. It is about looking after cricket in its entirety,” said Nkwe.

“I feel I am well suited to this role, and I can’t wait to get started. I am very excited about contributing towards taking South African cricket forward.”


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Africa Health Report

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading