Updated: Coltart abusing power to sort personality issues

IT is very easy to dismiss Zimbabwe Cricket convener of selectors Givemore Makoni as an insecure racist himself who is trying to safeguard his job by playing the race card against Sports minister David Coltart, just as it is also easy to support the minister’s directives to exclude those who have not played for Zimbabwe from national selection panels.

Independent Sports View by Kevin Mapasure

The problem is very few people are privy to the previous clashes that Makoni has had with the minister over selection issues culminating in the latest spat.

Coltart is a clever man; a lawyer, who has neatly dressed his directives that one would have to meticulously scrutinise them to find fault.

Coltart has told us that his directives compelling all national selectors to have played for Zimbabwe in their respective disciplines is not meant for cricket alone but all national sports.

But it is Coltart’s overzealous passion for cricket which drives him to phone selectors each time they name a squad to question the exclusion of certain players that betrays him.

That Coltart’s directives leave no room for special circumstances such as those of Makoni and assistant Zimbabwe national cricket team coach Stephen Mangongo, who discovered and nurtured half of the current national team including former skipper Tatenda Taibu after establishing Takashinga Cricket Club in 1996, blows his cover.

We should get one thing right here. Makoni is not fighting to remain as convener of selectors, but to safeguard the gains of cricket transformation that Coltart seeks to subtly reverse.

Judging from past selection feuds, it would seem Coltart is trying to use ministerial privileges to sort out a personality issue.

I understand why it’s so easy for Makoni to brand Coltart a racist considering the battle he fought to gain racial equity in cricket.

The Coltart/Makoni issue is purely a personality clash and has nothing to do with cricket.

Coltart has always wanted to get rid of Makoni. The minister decided to fast track his directives after learning of the convener’s decision to omit 38-year old spin bowler Raymond Price from the squad to tour West Indies.

That he could choose the eve of a tour to change the selection panel shows the minister did not want Makoni to be involved in the selection of the touring party and the deadline of February 1 betrays the minister’s underhand dealings.

Zimbabwe is set to leave for the West Indies next month.

Yes; ministers must be hands-on and I commend Coltart for that, but his energetic attempts to micro-manage Zimbabwe Cricket is highly suspicious.

I share yis desire to build a strong winning team, but bringing back people who deserted the game in protest over the blooding in of young and talented black cricketers cannot be the solution.

Zimbabwe’s performance does not reflect Makoni’s competence or lack of it as I know that there are under currencies at play. Those who follow cricket, including the minister, know that the present set up gives too much power to the Cricket Committee chaired by Alastair Campbell. Needless to mention that Campbell is one of the former rebel players who was fiercely opposed to the rapid rate of transformation, but he was still persuaded to return to the game by Coltart.

Campbell calls the shots in team selections but when things go awry, the blame is placed on Makoni. But in the past we have had interference from Campbell on team selection.

Would removing people like Makoni who have never played for Zimbabwe solve the fitness problems of skipper Brendan Taylor? How many times has Taylor failed a fitness test but continues to be included in the side without any qualms from Coltart?

He failed another fitness test before the training squad from which the team to tour West Indies would be selected was named but there was strong support to pick him. By the way, Taylor is not injured at all. He just doesn’t work on his fitness because he knows his place is guaranteed.

Coltart needs to tell the nation why he is pushing for changes ahead of the appointment of a new coach. Mangongo is a favourite for the job together with Grant Flower and Gary Brent.The post becomes vacant when current coach Alan Butcher’s contract runs out in April.

Is this not the same Flower who told The Australian in February 2011 that “life in Africa is very turbulent (and) I’ll always keep my options open”?

All we need are people who will pick the est sides whatever colour composition.

If Makoni is failing on his mandate he should be removed only by his employers ZC.

Such problems as the one we have had this week can be avoided if Coltart allows administrators to run the game without his interference.

Coltart Responds

David Coltart Responds

 

I am appalled by the article written in today’s Independent by Kevin Mapasure.

 

I exchanged e-mails with him last week and he could have easily sought clarification, which he never did, never mind speak to me to get balance in the story he has written.

 

In today’s article he has made some outrageous allegations which are laid out as fact without any proof other than presumably the mere says so of an interested party.

 

He has totally ignored the statement I issued last week and the subsequent statements issued this week. He has not tried to get comment from people like Col Nhemachena.

 

For example he makes the statement that the directives were “fast tracked” in response to Zimbabwe Cricket’s selection of a squad of 24 for the West Indies and because, so it is alleged, that Ray Price was excluded.

 

The SRC directive issued by Col Nhemachena I sent to him last week  states clearly that my proposal to the SRC was sent by me to the SRC on the 3rd December last year well before presumably the ZC panel had even met to consider who would be in the squad.

 

He clearly deliberately left that fact out from an objective source presumably because it was fact that would get in the way of a good story.

 

Had he spoken to Col Nhemachena he would have found out that there has been no “fast tracking” of this issue. Indeed I was not even aware that Price had been left out of the squad when this furore broke last week and in any event see that Price appears to be in the squad of 24 – so this would appear to be another flagrant fabrication.

 

He suggests that I am in some form of cahoots with Alistair Campbell again completely ignoring my criticism of Campbell regarding the exclusion of Vusi Sibanda for the New Zealand tour – another well-known fact presumably which got in the way of his desired objective.

I have updated the statement I issued last Saturday to include a response to some of the outrageous allegations made today and I trust that this will be published in full.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

David

Senator David Coltart
Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture
www.davidcoltart.com
+263-77-2232397

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