Pep Guardiola-inspired South Africa coach Enoch Nkwe looks ahead to the future
Enoch Nkwe (AFP Photo)

Iconic football manager Pep Guardiola’s belief in his “system” and desire to produce “better human beings” is something that resonates with South Africa‘s interim cricket coach Enoch Nkwe, who wants to create a foundation that will leave the struggling team in a better place.

Spanish football manager Guardiola, who has guided FC Barcelona to multiple Champions League titles and has helped Manchester City win English Premier League titles, is revered for his coaching philosophy.

“He (Pep Guardiola) is a special human being. He has produced special performances and (I like) the belief he has in his system. Just the drive he has to improve systems, improve human beings to be better and better all the time,” Nkwe said when asked what is about Guardiola that he liked after the crushing 203-run loss to India in the opening Test here on Sunday.

When asked if he would like to imbibe some of his generic coaching philosophies, Nkwe said: “Just his total passion about the game. It is something that resonates within me. I feel I have so much to offer to the game. My biggest drive is to make a difference to human beings. I am in a position and I am grateful for that.”

Just like ball possession, which can drain the opposition, has been a foundation of Guardiola’s strategy, Nkwe said controlling 80 percent of the sessions in a Test match is the key to victory.

“I suppose every coach has a different philosophy to rub off strongly on the team. My philosophy is to control sessions for a longer period of time and also be a lot smarter in the certain situations.

“Football’s possession is different from cricket but in cricket we want to reach the 80 percent mark of controlling sessions,” Nkwe said.

On the personal front, he wants to work on building a foundation for the next four years at a time when South African cricket is going through a phase of turmoil.

“It didn’t affect me at all. I have embraced the situation and my biggest focus is to create a strong foundation. We have worked a lot behind the scenes to help this team grow in the next four years,” said Nkwe, who had played 42 first-class games.

“We would like to define the character of the team, hopefully the puzzle comes together and we can put in some good performances, which can (in turn) produce good results,” he added.

However, he wants everyone associated with South African cricket to look at the bigger picture.

“But ultimately, it’s all about the big picture. And we need to be patient as some players might take a bit more time to produce the type of performances we are looking for.”