Fresh bid to lure rebels

Itai Dzamara

ZIMBABWE Cricket Union (ZCU) board members have launched a fresh attempt to bring back the group of rebellious white players fired by the union earlier this year following a ruling on allegation

s of racism that was delivered last month.


Investigations by this paper have revealed that ZCU board members Tavengwa Mkuhlani and Ozias Bvute last month approached former cricket administrator Ray Gripper, requesting him to approach on their behalf the fired players and bring them onto the negotiating table with the union.


Gripper agreed to the request and approached the players, who agreed, and this culminated in meetings that came up with proposals towards changing the ZCU constitution, drafting new players’ contracts and holding fresh elections.


ZCU legal representative Alwyn Pichanick was approached to assist in the drafting of the new proposals and taking them with the ZCU board.

Pichanick yesterday confirmed these developments but said only the union could give comments.


Gripper this week confirmed the latest developments. “Initially I was approached by Mkuhlani, who brought up the suggestion. I agreed with him and raised the matter with the players who also agreed,” Gripper said.


“We later held meetings with Mkuhlani and Bvute and we came up with proposals towards constitutional changes, new players’ contracts as well as holding fresh elections.”


Documents in possession of this paper, with details of the meetings between Gripper and the ZCU board members as well as the proposed changes, show what the two parties had agreed on.


The documents read, in part: “A new democratic constitution would be drawn up as soon as possible after consultations with all stakeholders following which fresh elections would be held .The constitutions of the provinces should also be upgraded to ensure that they meet the standards we all now aspire to.


“The qualification criteria for selectors as put forward by the players is accepted in total and not only partly. The players who do agree to come back will be valued by Phil Simmons (the national coach). The only criteria to be used in this assessment is cricket skills and value, nothing else.

Maybe any rejections could be supported by a report from Phil as to how he arrived at his assessment.


“There is to be no interference by board members in selection or cricketing matters and their contribution should be largely restricted to the boardroom and committee meetings.


“The players who are accepted back are contracted at the grade that they were on prior to the disputes, as a minimum. This means they will not be contracted on any lesser grading than that which they were last on.”


Bvute yesterday said: “Gripper made some suggestions to Mkuhlani. I met with Gripper, Mkuhlani and Pichanick and agreed that we had to take the suggestions to the board.”


Gripper, however, said it appeared the ZCU board had rejected the proposals because its representatives had not come back with a response as agreed.

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