ZRU backs independent probe team


Ndamu Sandu

THE Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) will set up an independent committee to probe the cancelled Africa Cup fixture against Madagascar a fortnight ago.



NT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The committee to be chaired by Jerry Nhete, will look into the circumstances leading to the cancellation of the match which had been scheduled for Harare Sports Club.


The ZRU national disciplinary committee, which reports directly to the executive board, felt that it would be difficult, legally, to adjudicate on a matter that would require submissions from members of the board and then present its findings to the same body.


As a result the national disciplinary committee recommended the establishment of an independent body which would exclude members of the executive.


“The ZRU executive has therefore, through provisions in its constitution (Section 13 – Powers of the Union) sub-Section G, endorsed the establishment of an independent committee.


“This development has been met with the full approval of the International Rugby Board (IRB), through its regional manager for Africa, Mr Sas Bailey,” ZRU said in a statement.


The probe team, comprising five members is mandated to establish the rationale for the cancellation of the match.


It has the authority to call upon any players, administrators and media personalities to submit evidence in whatever form and to implement and enforce any decision it may arrive at in consultation with the IRB and the Confederation of Africa Rugby (Car).


The committee, which started its work today, has a time frame of 10 days to complete the probe and announce its findings.


The ZRU statement said: “The world governing bodies for rugby, IRB and the Car authority, have been fully appraised of, and are in full agreement with the ZRU, in that those found to have been guilty of bringing the 2003 IRB Africa Cup competition into disrepute, be made fully accountable for their actions.”


Cracks within ZRU that emerged when then Sables coach Godwin Murambiwa resigned in June under acrimonious circumstances reached fever pitch when the team’s crunch tie against Madagascar was cancelled at the 11th hour.


ZRU claimed at the time players had refused to play the match. But the team insisted they had only requested a change of match venue as they felt the Harare Sports Club was sub-standard.


Meanwhile, five Lion Lager Premier League matches have been lined up for the weekend. Three will be played in Harare and two in Bulawayo.

Tomorrow defending champions Old Hararians host University.


In Bulawayo, log leaders Western Panthers lock horns with Mabvuku.

Also in Bulawayo, pressure will be on Busters when they entertain ninth-placed Gweru.


On Sunday, Harare Sports Club host relegation threatened Shabanie in what should be a lopsided fixture. In the other match Mashonaland Country District take on Old Miltonians.