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By Heinz Schenk


‘I had to put my ego aside’ – Enoch Nkwe’s classy response to harsh CSA treatment

The Proteas assistant coach was big collateral damage as the governing body imploded last month, but he's enjoying his new role under 'inclusive' Mark Boucher.

Over the past few months, various players who’ve played under him have delivered the same message: Enoch Nkwe is a really classy guy.

The Proteas assistant coach reinforced that perception by giving local cricket supporters the assurance that he’s fully committed to his new role.

Nkwe was one of the biggest victims in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) implosion over the last few months, which climaxed with the suspension of CEO Thabang Moroe, as he lost his gig as the national side’s then team director following the appointment of Graeme Smith as interim director of cricket.

ALSO READ: Nkwe: AB won’t just jump back into the Proteas team

It certainly didn’t help that his first assignment was the tour to India, traditionally an assignment from hell, where South Africa were whitewashed 3-0 in the Test series.

Thrown to the wolves and then thrown under the bus, the critics would say.

“These past few weeks have not been bad at all. It’s actually been quite exciting,” said Nkwe, who became Proteas head coach Mark Boucher’s deputy last month.

“If you look at our plans going forward, we’re in for a lot of excitement. I really appreciate the support that the South African people have given me.

“I can guarantee them that I’m going to give this job my full, 100% effort. The team and I won’t let anyone down. The environment has been superb. It’s different energies and different minds, but we’re pulling in one direction.”

However, no-one can deny that Nkwe surely must’ve felt disappointed and deflated at how quickly his prominence in the Proteas setup slumped as Moroe’s house of cards came tumbling down.

It’s therefore pleasing that the 37-year-old was able to open up on the issue.

ALSO READ: 2019 in review: The year the Proteas caught CSA’s boardroom cold

“I’m not going to beat around the bush – it’s been a challenge, especially when it all unfolded. But I believe I’m mature enough to deal with the situation. By the time we got to the camp before England, I felt very strong and confident, I can make a massive impact in a different role.

“It wasn’t an easy call to make but when I met with (CSA acting chief)  Jacques Faul and ‘Bouch’ and Graeme, it was pretty clear. They were very realistic in terms of what has happened. They showed a lot of care. For me, it’s always been about the country.

Nkwe and Mark Boucher. (Photo by Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images)

“It’s never been about me. I’m here to coach human beings. I’m here to coach cricketers to get better. Unfortunately, things happened the way they happened and I had to put my ego aside and focus on what the country needs.”

Nkwe, who is technically better qualified than Boucher, also lauded his colleague’s inclusive approach.

“I’ve enjoyed the role. Boucher has been very supportive. He’s given me the platform to make a difference in the team, to contribute as much as possible; whether it’s in team routines or in training. We’ve worked closely together. I’m enjoying the partnership. He’s very relaxed. As much as he’s intense when it comes to business time – just like any other coach – he cares a lot about the team.”

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