Execs' meddling no worry for Toyana
Geoffrey Toyana, who was officially unveiled as the Highveld Lions' coach yesterday, says the least of his worries will be meddling from the Gauteng cricket executive.
Toyana's predecessor, Dave Nosworthy, quit last month, partly because of alleged interference in team selection from some suits in the Gauteng Cricket Board. Nosworthy is reported to be in line for the New Zealand coaching job.
Toyana said that his "good relationship" with the board would help him avoid being at loggerheads with the board's executive. He has been appointed until 2014. He said that he had learnt from his predecessor how to handle the board.
"I am not concerned at all about any interference. I am quite close to the board and I think that will help in keeping a good relationship," said Toyana.
"I learnt a lot from Dave (Nosworthy), especially in dealing with the issue of selection and the team budget. I think those lessons will help me along the way."
Lions chief executive Cassim Docrat said that Toyana's appointment was a unanimous one by the board.
He added that the new coach's experience at provincial level and his expertise in developing amateur players into professionals made him the ideal choice to take the Lions forward.
The 38-year-old's appointment is also significant as it makes him the first black cricket coach at a professional level in South Africa. The Soweto-born coach is hoping that this milestone will motivate other coaches from the townships.
"I'm really excited and looking forward to the challenges that come with the job," Toyana said.
One of the new coach's goals is to bring trophies to the union, something that has eluded the Lions for the past five years. The last time the team won a trophy was in the 2007 provincial Twenty20 competition. He is adamant that his side has what it takes to turn things around.
Toyana comes with a wealth of experience both as a player and a coach. He played 84 first-class matches for Gauteng, Transvaal, the Titans and Easterns between 1995 and 2008.
After retirement, Toyana was appointed the coach for the Easterns provincial team and was an assistant coach for the SA U19 side and the Emerging Players team.
He also comes from a cricketing family. He is the son of Gustavus Toyana, a wicketkeeper who played for the SA African XI in the mid-1970s.