'Thando the best person to answer‚' says Cobras coach Prince on Makhaya Ntini's son

Thando Ntini, right, of South Africa celebrates with teammates during the U/19 Tri Series match between South Africa and Namibia.
Thando Ntini, right, of South Africa celebrates with teammates during the U/19 Tri Series match between South Africa and Namibia.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Cape Cobras head coach Ashwell Prince has lamented the cutthroat nature of domestic cricket transfer market and cut a despondent figure as he revealed how his team lost out on Thando Ntini and Mangaliso Mosehle.

Prince said the inability of franchises to nail players down to long-term contracts is a concern as it leads to “the highest bidder type of a situation” come the end of every season.

However‚ the former Proteas middle-order left-hander welcomed Cricket South Africa’s initiative to allow franchises to tie down a minimum of eight players to two-year contracts starting from May 1.

“If I can just say that with a hundred percent of the country players’ contracts coming to an end it was actually a little bit of a nightmare to get around or get through this transfer window because it is basically free for all‚” said Prince in a zoom media briefing.

“It is the highest bidder type of a situation‚ which is not ideal.”

After losing stalwarts Rory Kleinveldt and Vernon Philander to retirement‚ and the power of the US dollar and the British pound luring key bowlers Dane Piedt and Dane Paterson away‚ Prince also lost Thando Ntini‚ Ferisco Adams‚ Lizaad Williams and Tladi Bokako.

That left the Cobras with a depleted squad but the Cape side responded with the acquisitions of Tony de Zorzi‚ Imraan Manack‚ Tshepo Moreki‚ Corbin Bosch‚ Onke Nyaku and Calvin Savage to bolster their ranks for the new season.

Western Province local boys Isma-eel Gafieldien‚ Ziyaad Abrahams and Jonathan Bird have also been brought on with upgraded contracts.

But it is the brutal manner with which the Cobras lost out on Ntini and Mosehle that left Prince stumped.

“We did actually offer Mosehle a contract and his agent said to me‚ ‘It is done. It is 99% done’. And the next day he phoned back and said he [Mosehle] has changed his mind.

“The Dolphins were able to offer him a last-minute contract and he decided to stay there instead of having to pack up and move house again‚” Prince said of Mosehle‚ who joined the Cobras in late March for the remainder of the Momentum One-Day Cup.

“So again‚ next year you will have players who are free for all in terms of anybody around the country offering them contracts.”

Prince said that “other factors that were at play” in the case of the departure of Proteas bowling legend Makhaya Ntini’s son Thando.

“I think Thando will be the best person to answer‚” said Prince of the son of his former Proteas teammate.

“I know the circumstances around it and I know that there are other factors at play and maybe it is not my place to say what they are.

“We were not given the opportunity to make the counter-offer [to a counter-offer from the Titans]‚” said Prince.

The Cobras had a season to forget after finishing winless and rock bottom in the four-day game and propping up the One-Day Cup despite a promising start to the campaign.

Prince admits that his team had been poor but said he believes the new group of young players will stand the franchise in good stead for next season.