THE owner of the Guyana Amazon Warriors has opted for former South African captain and all-rounder Johan Botha, as the local franchise head coach for the sixth edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Botha replaced Roger Harper, who told Chronicle Sport that he is disappointed not to be a part of the Warriors unit this year.
“Of course I was looking forward to be a part of the Warriors again, but the owners have the right to choose the personnel that they would like to choose and I wish them all the best,” Harper revealed.
Harper, a former West Indies player, coached the Warriors for the first two editions until he was replaced in 2015 by fellow Guyanese Carl Hooper. In 2016, he was reunited with the team.
However, his cause apparently has not helped, since the Amazon Warriors have made it to three finals to date but are yet to lift the title. They also finished third on the other three occasions.
Commenting on the squad and the Warriors’ chances this year, Harper said “One of the thing about the Warriors’ teams over the years is that it [was] never teams with a lot of big international stars really…we had couple, but the teams were very capable, teams that were able to work together, work for each other, and the successes of the teams over the years were built on playing smart cricket, so I think they have put together a decent squad this year, and if they play well and play for each other, play smart cricket, then they should be successful too”.
This year’s showpiece will bowl off on August 8 and concludes on September 16, but the 36- year-old Botha will arrive in the country prior to the teams’ encampment from August 2.
Botha will definitely face the same mountainous expectation that every other head coach had, and in his case, the pressure will be even larger given that the franchise owner has for the first time announced a foreign coach.
Botha has had previous coaching experience at the Pakistan Super League with Islamabad United and Multan Sultans. He has also played at the Hero CPL, winning the title with the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2015.
As a player, Botha represented South Africa in Tests, ODIs and T20 Internationals, claiming 126 wickets for his country.
Meanwhile, current Guyana Jaguars and West Indies ‘A’ Team Manager Rayon Griffith has been appointed as Botha’s assistant.
Griffith has represented the Guyana national team and the West Indies `B’ side in regional tournaments, and has had a very successful stint as the current Assistant Coach/Manager of the Guyana Jaguars, contributing to them winning the West Indies Four-Day Professional League for four consecutive years.
Team and Operations Manager of the Guyana Amazon Warriors Omar Khan, has expressed optimism on Botha’s and Griffith’s appointments. “The management of the franchise puts in continuous effort to do things differently with the aim of winning the title.
After getting so close over the years we are delighted to have Johan and Rayon at the helm of our coaching staff this year. They are both very professional and are very much involved in cricket coaching and development, and are expected to bring new ideas and initiatives to the team set-up.”
Guyana is set to host five games; St Kitts & Nevis Patriots on August 9; St Lucia Stars on August 11; Barbados Tridents on August 12; Jamaica Tallawahs on September 8; and Trinbago Knight Riders on September 9.
However, it was also announced that there is a possibility of two playoff matches to be played here, on September 11 and 12.