A FRESH storm is brewing in cricket after four development clubs in the Midlands resolved to form a rebel association as they have refused to acknowledge the province’s newly elected chairman.
The four clubs – Kadoma, Gweru Development, Kwekwe Development and Redcliff – are not happy with the election of Tim Savory as the new Midlands Cricket Association (MCA) chairman.
The dispute broke out after the four black clubs were refused to vote in the elections that brought in Savory after the outgoing board, chaired by Hemant Patel, turned down their applications for affiliation to the MCA.
The established clubs in the province, Kwekwe Sports Club, Gweru Sports Club and Queens Cricket Club, cast their votes alongside one black club, Chegutu, who were affiliated on the day of the meeting. The other development clubs regarded Chegutu’s late affiliation an anomaly.
The development clubs this week sent a petition to Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Peter Chingoka, seeking to have the splinter association affiliated at the national body’s annual general meeting next month.
Chingoka acknowledged receipt of the petition, but could not say whether the breakaway association would be recognised or not.
“Yes, we have received the petition and we have written to the MCA asking them to respond to the allegations raised by the clubs. We expect to hear their side of the story by next week,” said Chingoka.
The aggrieved clubs are also said to be discontented with the election of opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s Kwekwe MP Blessing Chebundo and Kwekwe deputy mayor Mutenda Madzoke on the new MCA board. It is feared Chebundo’s involvement in cricket could invoke hostility from political rivals, thereby jeopardising cricket development in the province.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official from one of the breakaway clubs told IndependentSport that the clubs were unhappy that Kwekwe and Gweru Sports Clubs, who currently do not play league cricket due to player shortages, control the MCA.
“At the moment these two clubs do not have teams and are not playing cricket. A few months ago, we wrote a letter to the outgoing chairman, Patel, asking why they have not affiliated us, but we got no response from him,” he said.
The clubs are also said to be worried by the “militant” position of the MCA board, which they accuse of spoiling for a fight with ZC at a time the province wants to mend relations with the national association.
However, Chingoka said ZC does not have any issue with the affiliate provincial body and was willing to iron out any differences with the new board.
Savoy said he was shocked the clubs had chosen to break away from the MCA. “When I addressed the meeting last week, I told the clubs that the issue of
their affiliation was going to be dealt with amicably, and that after three months, draft constitutions were going to be drawn up for them,” Savory said.
“It’s a very unnecessary decision to resort to if they are indeed breaking away in light of what has happened.”