Fire Zimbabwe coaches: official

Darlington Majonga



CRISPEN Tsvarai quit Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) in a huff a fortnight ago following a fallout with fellow interim board members sparked by his recommendati

on that Kevin Curran and Andy Pycroft be fired as national team coaches.


The exit of Tsvarai, who was head of ZC’s technical and player welfare committee and chairman of the Bulawayo Metropolitan province, has rekindled efforts to topple ZC chairman Peter Chingoka.


Zimbabwe chief selector Bruce Makovah, who continuously fought with Curran when picking players, has also fallen by the wayside after ZC decided not to renew his tenure.


Tsvarai had suggested Curran be replaced as senior national team coach by Walter Chawaguta, while Stephen Mangongo had been touted to take over Pycroft’s post with Zimbabwe A.


Pace bowler Douglas Hondo had been nominated for the Academy coaching job.


Tsvarai and Makovah have apparently turned to controversial sports personality Temba Mliswa, who yesterday presented a raft of allegations against Chingoka.


Tsvarai’s departure was triggered by a document he drafted — packaged as a technical and player welfare committee report — in which he advocated the axing of Curran and Pycroft, among other things.


There were no reasons given for the proposed axing of the national coaches in Tsvarai’s report though Mliswa has called for an investigation into allegations that Curran holds an “Irish passport”.


The report was presented at a ZC interim board meeting on September 20 that Tsvarai failed to attend.


However, the other members of his committee — Levy Hombarume, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, Stanley Staddon, Cyprian Mandenge and Sylvester Matshaka — disowned the report and said they had not met as a committee to come up with the report.


According to minutes of the ZC interim board meeting, the report “was unanimously taken as individual input” by Tsvarai.


Tsvarai admitted when contacted by this paper that he had drafted the report.


The report also touched on the appointment of the national team captain, selection panel, team managers and player contracts.


“I can confirm I’ve left cricket,” Tsvarai told IndependentSport. “Yes, I did the draft, but for now I’ll leave it to Chingoka to divulge to the public why I left because I gave my reasons in my resignation letter.”


In his resignation letter, dated September 26, Tsvarai cited lack of autonomy for his committee, interference, politicking and favouritism in team selection as well as lack of professionalism by the technical bench.


“I find it hard to continue to chair a committee whose decisions are not respected by what I would call an ‘inner board’ for lack of a better term,” Tsvarai said in his resignation letter.


Chingoka responded on September 28 acknowledging receipt of Tsvarai’s resignation letter.


“You talk about transparency in your letter. However, we are struck by the coincidence of your resignation at the time your (technical and player welfare committee) and the board had rejected your personal and unilateral wishes to dismiss Curran and Pycroft,” Chingoka wrote.


Makovah, who has been far more aggressive as a selector than he was as a first-class medium-pacer, said he had quit as chief selector because he had problems with Chingoka.


“Where there’s lack of policy and lack of professionalism, I have problems,” Makovah said yesterday. “I have always had problems with fellow selectors, but my main problem is Peter. When a fish dies it’s the head that starts rotting.”


However, insiders said Makovah had not voluntarily resigned but was not considered for reappointment at the September 20 board meeting.


A source close to the national team claimed Makovah was against the idea of having “too many whites in the team”.


“Selection was chaotic and shambolic,” the source said. “Makovah was not attending matches yet he wanted to select players. Even in West Indies he was refusing to watch practice matches but he still wanted to have the final say.”


Makovah, according to the source, allegedly had problems with the inclusion in the team of Piet Rinke and Gregory Strydom, who he believed were being favoured by Curran and Kenyon Ziehl, the other selectors.


The selection squabbles came to a head during the last match of Zimbabwe’s ODI series against Bangladesh in Harare in August when Makovah allegedly decided to axe Terrence Duffin against the wishes of Curran and Ziehl.


When the selectors could not agree, Curran and Ziehl referred the matter to Chingoka, who in turn allegedly vetoed the inclusion of Duffin.


Makovah, who rose to infamy last year after breaking up a match between two established Mashonaland clubs that had revolted against ZC, has since been replaced by Ziehl as convenor of selectors.


Meanwhile Mliswa, addressing a press conference yesterday, called for a “full forensic audit and investigation” of ZC financial accounts.


Mliswa demanded that Chingoka, Bvute and Mukuhlani step down immediately to allow for a probe into allegations of “fraud, corruption and general criminal activity stemming from willful violations of exchange control regulations”.


The allegations by Mliswa were similar to those levelled against Chingoka by provincial administrators led by Charlie Robertson on October 31 2005.


A “summary of charges” distributed at the press conference was almost the same as the one central to an investigation carried out by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last year that resulted in Chingoka and Bvute spending a night in police cells.


Apart from the now familiar allegations, Mliswa claimed that Chingoka had failed to account for foreign currency — “covering a total period of 12 weeks at an average of US$50 a day” — that had been entrusted to him by former captain Tatenda Taibu “during his debut tours of India and England” at the age of 16.


Mliswa said he was not working with the group of disaffected stakeholders led by Robertson, although he said he had consulted some of them.


He claimed that he had fresh evidence to back up the allegations that he had forwarded to “higher authorities” — including President Robert Mugabe in his capacity as ZC patron.


Mliswa, fired by ZC as interim chairman of Mashonaland West Cricket Association on July 19, said he was still in charge of the province and that his call for the ouster of Chingoka was not a case of “sour grapes”.


At the press conference, Mike Pemhiwa, Wellington Marowa, Makovah as well as their lawyer flanked Mliswa.


Chingoka has said findings of a probe into similar allegations raised by disenchanted stakeholders last year would be made public “soon” when the audit firm appointed in March finishes its job.