Will embattled Lions coach be thrown to the wolves?

08 February 2018 - 17:45 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Geoffrey Toyana, coach of the Lions during 2017 T20 Ram Slam Bizhub Highveld Lions Press Conference at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa on 09 November 2017.
Geoffrey Toyana, coach of the Lions during 2017 T20 Ram Slam Bizhub Highveld Lions Press Conference at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa on 09 November 2017.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The future of Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana will be on the agenda when the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) meets on February 18‚ chief executive Greg Fredericks has confirmed.

Toyana‚ who is the only domestic black African coach‚ has come under intense pressure at the Lions as the franchise has failed to win a trophy over the past few years. He has also reportedly lost the change room.

“He has been unfortunate over the last few seasons but he has a year left on his contract with us and our board is sitting on the 18th to deliberate on the whole system‚" Fredericks said.

"I know that he has been under a lot of pressure but I know that he will turn things around.”

In his six years in charge at the franchise‚ Toyana has produced Quinton de Kock‚ Kagiso Rabada‚ Aaron Phangiso‚ Chris Morris‚ Temba Bavuma‚ Hardus Viljoen‚ Stephen Cook‚ Dwaine Pretorious‚ Edie Leie and Mangaliso Mosehle for the Proteas.

There is 19 year-old all-rounder Wiaan Mulder knocking hard on the door and he was called up to the Proteas squad for ODIs against Bangladesh last year to replace injured Wayne Parnell‚ even though he did not play.

Fredericks said the board would look at the whole system at the franchise and they are worried about the ongoing pattern where they lose players to rivals Titans.

“If you look at all the franchises this year‚ there were seasoned professionals who carried them and our average age is about 26 years‚" he said.

"We lost a number of senior players like Neil McKenzie‚ Alviro Petersen‚ Thami Tsolekile‚ Pumelela Matshikwe‚ Jean Symes‚ Lonwabo Tsotsobe‚ Quinton de Kock‚ Chris Morris and Temba Bavuma.

"That is a lot of experience and we must look at it from that point of view.

"All those things will be considered during the board meeting next week.”

He said that they are disappointed at the lack of success in recent times and it has taken a strain on the commercial side of things.

“I will be very disappointed if my board is not concerned about the results of the recent past because we want to be a winning province‚" Fredericks said.

"This has put a strain on us on the commercial side of things and we must look into what can we do.

"It is a concern that players are leaving us to other franchises‚ we want to be a franchise of choice where people want to come to us.

"At some stage we had people wanting to come to us but if you look at a number of players we have lost to the Titans‚ we are not happy about that.

"This happened in the past with Graeme Smith going to the Cobras.”

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