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Cricket officials suspended

Itai Dzamara

NATIONAL cricket team selector Stephen Mangongo and a senior Mashonaland Cricket Association (MCA) administrator believed to be behind a plot to depose the Zimbabwe Cricket

board have been suspended on extortion allegations at their club Takashinga.

Mangongo and MCA general manager Givemore Makoni have threatened to take their case to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and “expose the problems rocking local cricket”.

Zimbabwe Cricket communications manager Lovemore Banda this week confirmed the suspension of the duo.

“Givemore Makoni and Mangongo have been suspended. They were given letters of suspension and only them can give you the terms of suspension because they are confidential,” Banda said.

The two Takashinga executives, alongside disgraced club manager Elvis Sembezeya, were allegedly involved in mobilising MCA affiliate clubs to pass a vote of no confidence in Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka and his entire 12-strong board.

Sources said the group of dissenting officials met this week and resolved to refer their grievances to the ICC and recommend a “thorough” probe into the Zimbabwe Cricket leadership.

The MCA officials said at a press conference last week that the Zimbabwe Cricket board had violated the constitution when it rebranded the union allegedly without consulting the provinces.

MCA clubs will be meeting next Wednesday to deliberate on the matter and consider ratifying the no-confidence vote.

Chingoka dismissed the allegations and looming rebellion, saying it was a ploy to cover up investigations by Zimbabwe Cricket into extortion charges levelled against Mangongo, Makoni and Sembezeya at Takashinga.

Mangongo is the chairman of Takashinga, Makoni secretary-general while Sembezeya is club manager. The three officials allegedly forced Takashinga players who made it into national and provincial representative sides to remit 10% of their match fees to the club.

Banda yesterday said the union was still probing the allegations and would take a position as soon as enough information had been gathered.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe Cricket yesterday signed a new sponsorship contract with a Pakistani sports goods company.

The new sponsor, Ihsan Sports, will supply practice and playing uniforms and shoes for Zimbabwe’s seven national teams from Under-11 to the senior side. The deal will run up to December 31 2007 and is subject to renewal.

Zimbabwe Cricket marketing manager Andrew Muzamindo also announced that the union had clinched a US$1 million deal with Dubai-based Taj TV, which will take over from Nissan as the sponsor of Zimbabwe’s one-day internationals.

Nissan and another sponsor, Bata, have severed their relations with Zimbabwe Cricket.

The union said it was still negotiating for the renewal of a major sponsorship contract with insurance giant Old Mutual, which is due to expire in February 2005.

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