ZIMBABWE cricket team assistant coach Steven Mangongo has been appointed Mashonaland Eagles mentor to fill the position left by the late Kevin Curran. Curran, who was the coach of Mash Eagles, passed on last month when he collapsed while jogging in Mutare. And this weekend, Mangongo was appointed as the team's coach, replacing the former Zimbabwe national team selector Curran who also served as national team coach of Zimbabwe between 2005 and 2007.
The appointment sees the Zimbabwe A coach, Mangongo, returning into the trenches of franchise cricket after having coached Mountaineers two years ago.
Yesterday, Mangongo said his immediate task is to gun for the Logan Cup and carry on with the good work left by Curran.
"Obviously, it is good to be in the trenches again . . . That is the bread and butter of Zimbabwe cricket.
"It is important that we put concentration there. So I am excited, I have worked with most of the players there at Zimbabwe A and at national level, so we are no strangers to each other.
"I just want to carry on with the good work which KC was doing for Mash Eagles. He was a hardworking coach and had results. Mash Eagles is the biggest franchise, so want to carry on with the spirit left by KC and keep on winning.
"Obviously, we are gunning for the Logan Cup, which is the pinnacle of Test cricket, so the emphasis is to get it right at franchise level and we haven't started well.
"The others are bonus, thus the shorter versions, if players can must the concepts in first class they can do well anywhere.
"I have coached franchise cricket for 10 years and if you have a weak franchise system it will come out at national team level so we have to produce fully baked players," said Mangongo.
The seasoned coach, who is credited for grooming a number of players that are now playing in the national team, reunites with players such as Mash Eagles skipper Stuart Matsikinyire and Forster Mutizwa whom he worked with at Mountaineers.
He has also worked with the Mash Eagles duo of Regis Chakabva and Tino Mutombodzi at club level, and Nathan Waller at Zimbabwe A. Mangongo says he hopes to continue improving the game of the cricketers to the next level.
Last season, Mash Eagles won the Pro50 and reached the finals of the T20.
Mash Eagles chairman, Wellington Dangarembizi, said they were happy to have appointed the veteran coach who has contributed tremendously to Zimbabwean cricket and has developed a lot of players.
He believes the franchise share the same vision with the coach and the partnership will produce results.