Shepherd Makunura, one of Zimbabwe’s most respected cricket coaches has died after a prolonged illness.
He was 46.
A former Takashinga Cricket Club player, Makunura was arguably the most successful local franchise cricket coach.
He led Mountaineers to three titles in Zimbabwe’s premier first-class cricket competition during the 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons before clinching his fourth Logan Cup title on the trot with Rocks in April last year.
Makunura, who was also part of the Southern Rocks technical team that also won the Metbank Pro40 tournament in 2011, was strongly tipped to become a future coach of the senior national team due to his success in domestic cricket.
At the time of his death, the seasoned mentor was serving as the fielding coach in the senior national team’s technical department, but he missed the recent ICC T20 World Cup in Australia due to ill health.
His coaching career took off in 2004 when he was asked to coach the national Under-14 side.
In 2007 he was given charge of the Zimbabwe Under-19s and coached the team at the World Cup in Malaysia the following year as well as at the 2010 version of the event.
The former St John’s prep school sports director was assistant coach to Douglas Hondo when Zimbabwe’s developmental side took part at the Africa Cup in 2017.
Three years ago he went to the Africa Cup as the head coach and Zimbabwe did well to win three out of four matches played.
Makunura’s cricket career started at Chengu Primary School in Highfield before he was awarded a scholarship at Prince Edward.
During his time at PE he was included in the Zimbabwe Under-15 side in 1992.
He went on to play for Glen Strugglers, Bionics and Winstonians before teaming up with the likes of Steve Mangongo, Givemore Makoni, Moses Chitare and Eric Chauluka to form Takashinga Cricket Club.
Makunura is survived by his wife Sinikiwe Mpofu and two sons Pharrell (13) and Tyrese (8).
Mpofu is the assistant coach for the Zimbabwe women’s team, the side she also represented during her playing days.