The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket have announced the return of Southern Rocks as the fifth first-class team ahead of the start of the country’s 2020/21 domestic season on 3 December.
Southern Rocks last played in Zimbabwe’s first class cricket during the 2013/14 season before the franchise was dissolved by ZC.
The return of the Masvingo based franchise was confirmed by the ZC board when the decision makers held a virtual meeting on Wednesday.
Southern Rocks have replaced the Alistair Campbell High Performance Centre team that failed to have a new academy intake this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the meeting, the Board also confirmed the coaching structure for the elite provincial sides. This sees Shepherd Makunura, who was in charge of Mountaineers, moving to Southern Rocks as their coach. His replacement at Mountaineers is still to be announced.
Stuart Matsikenyeri, Walter Chawaguta and Douglas Hondo will remain in charge at Eagles, Rhinos and Tuskers respectively.
The provincial sides will have the following serving as assistant coaches-cum-team managers, Erick Chauluka (Eagles), Steady Musoso (Mountaineers), Mufaro Chiturumani (Rhinos), Stanley Chioza (Southern Rocks ) and Mbekezeli Mabuza (Tuskers).
Some players at the end of their careers will be involved in mentoring youngsters at their respective franchises.
“The board also underlined the importance of tapping into the experience of players in the twilight of their careers by getting some veteran cricketers involved at technical level. Elton Chigumbura has been appointed as player/assistant coach at Eagles, with Shingi Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Cephas Zhuwao and Njabulo Ncube taking up similar roles at Mountaineers, Rhinos, Southern Rocks and Tuskers respectively,’’ said ZC.
Meanwhile, the board has commended the ZC management for introducing and successfully running the National Premier League, a 45-over national club competition, as well as two inter-provincial tournaments for women, the Women’s T20 Cup and the Fifty50 Challenge.