Cricket clubs form splinter league

Enock Muchinjo


A BREAKAWAY national cricket league has been formed by clubs disaffiliated by the Mashonaland Cricket Association and Matabeleland clubs who cut ties with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) last week.

The formation of the splinter league by the aggrieved

Zimbabwe cricket stakeholders follows a dossier they sent to ICC president Ehsan Mani, ahead of the ICC board meeting which was held in Dubai this week. 

The Mashonaland clubs that have confirmed membership to the rebel league are Old Hararians, Harare Sports Club, Alexandra, Old Georgians and Universals. They will be joined by Bulawayo clubs Queens, Bulawayo Sports Club, Bulawayo Athletics Club and Crescent.

The Mashonaland and Matabeleland Country Districts sides and Midlands’ Kwekwe Sports Club have also joined the league.

The clubs say they will announce a new sponsor soon. A meeting was being held last night to structure the league format. The league will eventually lead to an independent cricket association, members said.

Issues concerning the league’s office bearers and the structure of the splinter association will be finalised at a meeting in Kwekwe in the next few weeks, IndependentSport was told.

One of the club officials said: “We are no longer in a position to negotiate with them (ZC).We’ve made our stand.
“As for the ICC, they have not made a decision which will improve our situation. They have showed they do not care about Zimbabwe.”

In the dossier to Mani signed by Matabeleland Cricket Association chairman Ethan Dube and Charlie Robertson of the Mashonaland Country Districts Cricket Association, the stakeholders called for the suspension of the ZC interim board lamenting “the interim committee’s legal competence or its collective ability to lead ZC out of the crisis it is in”.

The document to ICC claims conditions in Zimbabwe cricket have worsened since the interim committee came into office through the Sports and Recreation Commission in January.

“Cricket in Zimbabwe now finds itself in a deeper crisis nationally than when we last wrote to you,” reads the dossier.

“Provincial and club structures are withering and players continue to be lost. Only 18 players (as compared to 45 last year) have been provided with six months contracts by ZC, who cite a lack of talent and financial constraints.

“The result is that many of the players who have just returned from the Under 19 World Cup have no cricket future in Zimbabwe. How, we are bound to ask, is Zimbabwe to maintain Test status if employment can not be generated in existing playing structures for these up-and-coming players?”

It continues: “Zimbabwe’s national team results continue to deteriorate, to the extent that even the most ardent supporters of our national side cannot justify our continuing inclusion in the top-flight.

“Being bowled our for 69 on March 1 by Kenya, a side ranked below Zimbabwe in the ODI rankings, must rank as the new low point in Zimbabwe’s national cricket over the past two years.”

The stakeholders contend that the results continue to damage the integrity of world cricket. “Further, they are impacting the popularity of the game nationally, and levels of disaffection among the general public and sponsors are at an all-time low,” the stakeholders said.

They said the state of the national side was not surprising considering the feeder system on which national cricket relies.