THE dispute between Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and suspended Takashinga Cricket Club took another twist this week with the two sides accusing each other of mistrust and duping.
The ZC/Takashinga standoff resurfaces after Takashinga allegedly forfeited their national league knockout final against Bulawayo Athletic Club scheduled for Queens Sports Club last Saturday after disagreeing with the air travel arrangements to Bulawayo. Takashinga were meant to fly to Bulawayo on Saturday morning and play the same day.
The dispute could be the final straw in the already vexed relationship between the high-density side’s officials and the cricket body.
The suspended officials, former Mashonaland Cricket Association general manager Givemore Makoni, former Zimbabwe A manager Elvis Sembezeya and former national selector Stephen Mangongo, were purged by ZC for allegedly extorting money from national team players from Takashinga.
This week, Sembezeya, the Takashinga club liaison officer, accused the ZC of cancelling their trip after the Takashinga officials said they could travel to Bulawayo under protest. Sembezeya said ZC had decided they did not have enough money for air tickets after being asked to pay 25% upfront by the airline. Takashinga had initially asked for cash from ZC ahead of the trip and are said to have been organising their own travel arrangements.
“I was told on Thursay to pick my squad, and I always pick my squads on Friday and I was going to be forced to pick a second-string side. I told Q (ZC operations manager Qhubekani Nkala) that we could not abide by the arrangements and that I had to consult my executive,” said Sembezeya.
“I then phoned him on Friday evening only to be told by a certain Chris, Q’s assistant, that we had forfeited the match and it had been awarded to BAC. ZC wants to show us that they are the masters and there is nothing we can do about it. Gone are the days when people fought for anything.
“We still want to play but if they do not want us to play, we are prepared to let bygones be bygones. We do not want to fight a brickwall. But the truth will always come out,” he added.
In turn Nkala said the dispute started when the Takashinga officals wanted cash to make their own travel arrangements “so that they could organise cheap transport and accommodation and pocket the rest”.
“It’s mischievous for him to say we have no money. Right now we are hosting Pakistan ‘A’ and the daily upkeep for them surpasses the air tickets we had organised for them. I had money and that is why they wanted us to give them cash. It’s not our policy to give clubs cash and it is not our policy to let clubs dictate travel arrangements,” Nkala said.
“There were four witnesses in my office when Elvis came to see me on Thursday and I told him of the arrangements. We cannot all be lying. Elvis immediately objected to the arrangements and after that, he phoned Steve (Mangongo, Takashinga chairman). He then told me that Takashinga was forfeiting that match.
“Departure was supposed to be Saturday morning, so on Friday I had had enough of this messing around and I told my secretary to cancel the air ticket bookings, only for them to call me late on Friday to say they wanted to go, but that was the end of question.”
Sembezeya told IndependentSport that his club still wanted to play but would not take action if they were not allowed to, with Nkala saying a disciplinary committee would meet to deal with the matter. He blamed Sembezeya for the disturbance, and said he would write to Takashinga to explain the dispute.