Das Neves sets sights on a ‘winning culture’

Richard das Neves (left) was officially unveiled as the new head coach of Eastern Cricket by the union’s director of representative cricket Hilton Nortje.

Richard das Neves (30) officially commenced duties as the union’s head coach from Thursday, June 1.

The former University of Johannesburg (UJ) coach, who replaces former Protea André Nel, said that he is extremely excited about this new challenge.

“I am looking forward to working with some good young players and to try and steady and steer the Easterns ship in the right direction,” he told the City Times moments after finalising his contract at Sahara Park Willowmoore.

Das Neves is what some would call “an outsider to Easterns Cricket”.

He has been involved with Gauteng Cricket for about 16 years.

“I was selected for Gauteng at junior level, I have played and captained the Strikers, played for the Highveld Lions and I was the UJ coach for the past three years.

“Those three years at UJ were successful years.

“We won a lot of trophies and produced many players for Gauteng.”

Like any newly appointed coach das Neves is raring to go and to get stuck into his new role.

“I am hoping to achieve a number of things here at Easterns.

“First and foremost is to try and get more player recognition at Titans level.

“I think it has been about 15 years since there was last a trophy won here, so that will be high up on my list as well.”

The former King Edward VII School (KES) learner said that Easterns is a proud union with a high standard of promotion of junior players through the ranks.

“Easterns is often seen as ‘a good side that is hard to beat’, but we are going to try and change that perception to ‘a good side that wins games’.

“Coming from the outside it will probably be easier for me to do that,” das Neves added.

“I have never played or represented them at any level, so I will bring in a fresh approach and a different, winning culture.

“I know what I am getting into with regards to the current players within the semi-professional structure.

“There is some exciting young talent, but we might have to nurture that with one or two good signings here or there down the line.

“Ultimately the goal is to produce home-grown Easterns talent right through to Titans level and then hopefully on to the Proteas.

“I must first understand what the team dynamic is and then create that winning attitude.”

Asked how he will work with the clubs in the region the new coach said: “There is no university that feeds the union with players so the club structure needs to be strong.

“I need to touch base with all the clubs and get to know what is out there.

“We need to look at all avenues to try and keep our best players here.”

With the Africa T20 Cup fast approaching das Neves will need to assess the squad quickly and work hard to create that desired winning mentality ahead of the tournament.

Sahara Park Willowmoore will host Pool A of the Africa T20 Cup from Friday, August 25 to Sunday, August 27 with Easterns, Western Province, South West Districts (SWD) and Namibia playing group matches against each other.

Logan Green

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