The Sunday Mail
THE story of Hamilton Masakadza’s career would be incomplete without mentioning a man who played a key part in making the former Zimbabwe cricket captain a star. Steve Mangongo might be a forgotten man after he was fired as Under-19 coach in 2018, but he told The Sunday Mail’s Brighton Zhawi that he is still around and “busy with businesses. Hamilton Masakadza achieved legendary status in Zimbabwe cricket but as a boy you found raw, how does it make you feel to see him have such a career? It’s the pinnacle of hard work. I felt mission accomplished indeed seeing the class of Hammy and crew reaching international stardom, not only reaching but marking their niche and performing at global level was indeed a milestone. Hammy and the crew such as Tatenda Taibu, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Vusi Sibanda were torchbearers in terms of bringing cricket to the masses. Hammy in that crew with Taibu obviously were the shining beacons. After his grand entrance into international cricket with the famous 100 on his test debut; how did that 100 make you feel and were you surprised that he scored a ton on debut?
Words cannot be good enough to describe the feelings then, when Hammy got that ton on his debut. It was and it is the pictorial image of Churchill schoolboys sitting at Castle Corner stand, standing up in unison to salute this grand entrance into international cricket, of one of their own. It was a majestic entrance to international cricket by a Highfield ghetto boy. I was sitting with late chairman Peter Chingoka at the chairman’s enclosure, it was like a dream from wonderland.
I was not surprised at all by Hammy’s 100 because a week before he had faced the same West Indies attack at Harare South and got some good runs and felt in good knick so when Gavin Rennie got injured last day before the test and I was part of the selection committee, Mackay Dudhia brought Hammy’s name as replacement. I backed him whilst other selectors thought he was too young to face the lethal West Indies attack then. After about an hour of deliberations Hammy got the nod.
Eighteen years later he waved goodbye to the game in style again leading Zimbabwe to their first T20 victory over Afghanistan with a 50. How did that make you feel this time?
It was sombre feeling to be honest. I didn’t see it, but followed the game thanks to technology. I felt with better fitness levels Hammy could have helped the upcoming youngsters to negotiate the rigours of international cricket, it’s not easy out there facing 140 clicks. I got this chill without Mudhara Hammy to deal with new ball it’s tough for upcoming blokes especially in Zimbabwe whereby our talents don’t play enough besides international cricket, it’s an uphill task, kukwira gomo baba. However, for Hammy he entered in grand style and exited in style with a man of the match performance in a victory over Afghanistan. What are some of your favourite Hammy moments during his career?
Fun enough, it’s a domestic first class innings, he got a big 100 chasing 300 odd to win versus Eagles, insanely concentration by Hammy to guide Mountaineers to victory with a duel versus Elton Chigumbura in full flight swinging the ball both ways at good pace on a difficult pitch at Country Club. Hammy led Mountaineers to victory in the maiden Stanbic T20 tournament.
Internationally, Hammy’s partnership with Vusi versus Pakistan in Bulawayo, huge partnership stands as the best moments. Since he has retired have you guys talked? Where I come from fathers don’t chase up after their children. I’m sure when he has settled he will pay his cricket father a visit.
We can’t forget what you have done to ZC. Are you out of cricket completely? Will you and ZC resolve things? Would you love to coach again because some people are asking about you knowing how you spot and develop talent?
I have no issues with ZC at all when they need my services they have my number. I’m certain they know what they get from the Mangongo’s expertise when they need it.