After suffering three heavy defeats out of three in the recent ODI series between the two sides, Zimbabwe must now motivate themselves to take on their neighbours once again in cricket's 50-over format on Friday.

They come into the match on the back off a 198-run thrashing by Australia in the opening match of the Tri-Series on Monday, but it is matters off the field that will be of as much concern. Their woes have been deepened by the news that their most experienced seam bowler, Tinashe Panyangara, has been axed from the squad for alleged ill discipline.

Such chaos has naturally also trained the spotlight on coach Stephen Mangongo, with questions being raised from some quarters about his suitability to lead the team.

He has used 18 players in Zimbabwe's last four one-day matches, but insists he is not undermining team harmony with his approach.

"I've been asked that question many a time," said Mangongo shortly after Zimbabwe's defeat to Australia. "Whether you're playing game one, game 20, game 200, pressure is always there. And if you don't perform, I don't see any science in you playing."

Mangongo is, however, without any assistant coaches to help lighten his responsibilities and he admitted that is making his tenure of the Zimbabwean ODI side a tough prospect.

"It's extremely difficult, an absolute nightmare," he said.

"I know for a fact that Zimbabwe Cricket administrators are working on that. "I have made the request, it's a process, it goes to the cricket committee, it goes to board level for approval, so hopefully we will have the right set up as we go along. But yes, you cannot have a head coach trying to coach batting one-on-one, bowling, spin, fast bowlers, team strategy, game plan, you name it. Obviously that's a lot to ask."

Things could not be more different for the South Africans, who impressively beat the Australians by seven wickets on Wednesday in their first game of the tournament.

"It's great confidence for us moving forward," Proteas captain AB de Villiers said after they chased down Australia's 327/7 with consummate ease.

However, he did strike a note of caution for his side as they build towards the ODI World Cup in 2015.

"We are a long way away from the finished product but we are moving in the right direction," he said.

"It"s important for us to stay in the now; we have a big game coming up against Zimbabwe so our focus is on that."