HomeSportWriting on the wall for ZCU

Writing on the wall for ZCU

Itai Dzamara

THE sight of Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) chairman Peter Chingoka at Harare Sports Club on Sunday, bearing a deeply pensive and troubled expression, told it all.

ace=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Here he was looking confused and uncertain. Chingoka had just returned on Wednesday from England on a desperate mission – which is now characteristic, one may say – to convince the England and Cricket Board (ECB) to tour the country later in the year.

It was a gruelling time for Chingoka in England as he had to defend not only ZCU – coincidentally caught with its pants down in an impasse with 15 senior players persists – but also the embattled government of President Robert Mugabe.

On Sunday Chingoka had probably returned to Harare Sports Club with faint hopes for a respite. He watched one of the worst performances in the history of professional cricket as his national team – a result of the “desire to bring about a colour balance” – struggled against Sri Lanka.

Zimbabwe was pulverised by the tourists by 9 wickets after recording a ODI record low of 35 runs.

As reported elsewhere in this issue, this came after some major sponsors of ZCU had registered concern over the growing rot in the sport. The threat by some of the major sponsors to pull out inevitably causes headaches for Chingoka and colleagues.

No amount of patriotism or state propaganda could mask the fact that the writing was on the wall for the ZCU.

On Wednesday evening ZCU released a statement claiming to have reached an agreement with the 15 players. However, the players’ representatives immediately denied knowledge of the agreement saying they had not seen the statement, more than two hours after its release.

Indications are that if at all there is going to be a thawing of relations between the union and the rebellious players, a good number of them have already decided never to come back to the national team.

That means Zimbabwe will have to search for a miracle to nurture the current crop of inexperienced youngsters to avoid further embarrassing whitewash losses. No amount of wishful thinking will deny the fact that the boys turning out for the national team will probably need centuries to revive the status that the country had reached in international cricket rankings.

And the last nail on the coffin would have been struck if sponsors pull out and the “millions” that are casually known to be easily made through cricket will be hard to come by.

If things reach that far, and they really are accelerating towards there, Chingoka and colleagues will then enter the history books for this “gallant performance” that reduced a thriving national sport to a farce.

It probably would be too late to realise how foolhardy it was to adopt the “Fourth Chimurenga” and join the bandwagon singing silly rhetoric about the so-called colour balance, patriotism and sovereignty at the expense of logic and prudence.

I remember attracting the ire of the ZCU last year when we reported about a rift over the re-appointment of Mugabe as the union’s patron.

“You guys want to mix politics and sports and we don’t view it that way at ZCU,” my notebook reminds me about Chingoka’s response.

Little did we know that this obstinate insistence on having Mugabe as patron probably had something to do with the manner the ZCU was expected to manage its affairs.

The state media spilled the beans by alluding to some nonsense called “Fourth Chimurenga” after Zimbabwe’s first One Day match against the visitors with propagandists hoping to hoodwink all and sundry by calling it a “gallant performance”.

* This week I got time to visit Prince Edward High School in Harare just a stone’s throw away from our offices. I couldn’t help marvelling at the display of talent as schools from across the country and the region battled for supremacy in the Cottco Rugby Schools Annual Festival.

One was obliged to feel gratified by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) for the highly commendable faith and consistency it has shown in sponsoring the annual event, especially given the terrible economic spell the country is currently going through.

But a further brainstorming inevitably resulted in a sad scenario as I eventually wondered where exactly the momentum is lost. In other words, I tried in vain to comprehend why the sport of rugby on the national scale is on the death bed when there is raw talent galore and through the example of Cottco, the corporate world could equally stand up to the challenge.

Next week we will provide an indepth analysis of the state of the ailing sport.

* Below are some of the contributions from readers of this column regarding the boiling pot in cricket as well as the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chairman Rafik Khan’s challenge.

Dear Itai,

It’s unfortunate that I did not read the initial story you did on the Zifa chairman. I only read his reply that you carried in your column.

His response has confirmed my worst fears as to how government, including (Joseph) Chinotimba, could be given the freedom to choose who travels with the team to Tunisia. The fact that he confirmed his party allegiance means a lot. Nothing much will change at Zifa, believe you me.

Keep up the good work.

Tichaona W Sibanda,

SW Radio Africa,

‘Zimbabwe’s Independent Voice’.

* If someone tells me that all the players who are on strike are racists, I would not believe it. Heath Streak has been there for Zimbabwe cricket when we needed him most and now we say he is against blacks, that’s a big joke.

Peter Chingoka is the one who is to blame. I may be black but I know when my brother is out of line. They talk about the white players earning a lot of money. How much is Chingoka and his colleagues earning?

If all the white players were after money, they could have left long back and play anywhere in the world by just saying that Zimbabwe cricket bosses did not want white players to play in the country. But they did not do that.

Tatenda Taibu is a good player but is it the right time for us to make him captain? I think that Chingoka has been sleeping. How can he say that he has a report stating that there are white parents who are against Zimbabwe cricket? Maybe he is now a student of the Professor.

Francis Makoni,

Cape Town,

South Africa.

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