Cape Town - The Highveld Lions have on Friday in an industry first, revealed that Enoch Nkwe has been appointed as head coach for the franchise with immediate effect.
Nkwe replaces Geoffrey Toyana as the new coach of the Johannesburg-franchise.
Nkwe, who hails from Soweto and has played for the Highveld Lions as an all-rounder, was the standout candidate after the recruitment process was conducted.
Nkwe was also previously the coach of the Central Gauteng Lions Semi-Professional team and assistant coach to the Proteas Women. Subsequently, he has been coaching club cricket in Holland and filled the role of assistant coach to the Netherlands National Team.
Chairperson of the Highveld Lions, Dr Oupa Nkagisang, commented: "The Lions Board are very clear on its intention to take charge of the domestic franchise competitions in the upcoming season. The belief that this franchise has this ability was reaffirmed by the high calibre of candidates applying for the Lions Head Coach role. We are confident that not only will Enoch make an immediate impact, he will also have a sustainable influence so that we continue to deliver stellar players to the national team, as we have been doing."
With 42 first class and 38 List A matches as a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium-fast bowler under his belt, Nkwe is relishing being able to lead his home team on and off the field.
"Coaching the Highveld Lions has always been a dream of mine. I am so convinced of the incredible potential that this franchise has that I cannot wait to get started," he said.
"The base of established players, balanced with an exciting pipeline bursting with potential is any coach’s ideal formula. I intend to add a balanced culture that will allow players to flourish and work as a unit; it’s great that we will have a coach of Geoffrey's (Toyana) experience to support the high performance development and assist us in identifying players that have the potential to contribute to the Lions' setup."
Nkwe is well familiarised with the changing international landscape with regards to player contracting, and the rate at which professional players are developing has increased as opportunities become available at a younger age.
"I know that each player has personal career aspirations and it is my intention to create an environment where they can hone their skills whilst functioning within the team environment. I cannot think of a better environment than the Bullring, with Senwes Park as our second home ground, to do this in. We have a lot of work ahead of us but there is no reason for us to not make a serious play in the coming season," commented Nkwe.