PAUL Adams, Geoffrey Toyana and Malibongwe Maketa — the three black coaches in domestic cricket — are the last three coaches standing in the Momentum 1-Day Cup, and this should be an inspiration for other coaches of colour, Toyana believes.
“This is definitely a big thing, a good thing,” said Toyana, who became the first black African provincial coach when he was appointed to the helm of the Highveld Lions in July 2012.
In his first season in charge of the Gauteng side, Toyana claimed the domestic T20 title, finished joint-winner of the one-day competition — which he shared with Adams’ Cape Cobras — and was second in the Sunfoil Series.
Adams has also had a successful run since his appointment as Cobras coach, also in 2012, claiming at least one trophy each season. This year will be the fifth consecutive 1-Day Cup final the Cape side features in.
Maketa, although he first served as a franchise assistant coach at the Titans in 2006, remains the “newbie” among the trio as he takes charge of his first full season as head coach of the Warriors after succeeding Piet Botha.
The Cobras secured a home final spot after finishing the pool stages on top of the log, while the Lions (second) and Warriors (third) compete in the playoff tomorrow for a spot in the final on Sunday.
This is the first time in domestic cricket that three black coaches are the only remaining candidates for a provincial trophy.
“I actually did not think about it in that sense,” Maketa, who at 35 is also the youngest of the six provincial coaches in SA.
“I wanted to play for SA, but that never happened. So now if (I get) an opportunity to represent my country in another (coaching) capacity one day I would be grateful. If someone can look up to us now and find inspiration, I’d be most happy.”
Toyana, who as a player was coached by a 26-year-old Maketa at the Titans in 2006 reflected on the trio’s coaching careers.
“I’m very happy for Mali (Maketa). He’s really done well. I remember when he came to the Titans, I was still a player, and he coached me …. He has done a great job with the Warriors to turn them into such a good side — a dangerous side,” said Toyana.
“If you look at Paul (Adams) at the Cobras, he has done wonders since taking over. In each of the past four years he has taken a trophy. I really hope that we set a good example for other coaches coming from our townships.”
Toyana and Maketa, who have had a good friendship beyond the field over the years, are relishing the opportunity to face each other in tomorrow’s playoff.
“Geoff and I are proud of how far each of us have come. We appreciate what we bring to the game. We want to do well for our regions. I want to make the Eastern Cape proud, and he wants to do the same for Gauteng,” said Maketa.
Last week, in the Lions’ final pool match against the Titans, Toyana was forced to take to the field for six overs after spinner Eddie Leie pulled out in the team’s warm-up when he strained a hamstring.
Shortly after the game started left-arm seamer Carmi le Roux injured his leg in his third over, prompting Toyana to have a fielding cameo.
Although Leie’s participation in the playoff will only be determined today, the Lions coach wrote off any suggestions of another outing on the field. “There’s definitely no chance I’ll take to the field again,” he chuckled.
If you look at Paul (Adams) at the Cobras, he has done wonders since taking over … I really hope that we set a good example for other coaches coming from our townships