FORMER Zimbabwe coach Roy Barreto has joined an elite band of high-profile sportsmen who have spoken out against the regime of President Robert Mugabe.
Until this week only two major stars in
Zimbabwe, fast bowler Henry Olonga and renowned wicketkeeper and batsman Andy Flower, had stood up against Mugabe, but the former Warriors mentor joined the famous pair in Portugal at the weekend to participate in a “black armband” protest.
Barreto told the media that the crisis in Zimbabwe was affecting everyone, including sports personalities, and he joined the Zim Vigil activists in Portugal to add his weight to their message.
More than 30 activists travelled from London to Lisbon and voiced their disaffection with Mugabe’s presence at the EU-Africa summit, given his human rights record.
Barreto said the protests were very successful as they raised awareness on the crisis in the country.
He said both delegates to the summit and ordinary Portuguese residents were left very clear on what the problems in Zimbabwe were about.
The veteran coach had stints with Highlanders, Zimbabwe Saints, Shu-Shine and Black Rhinos in Zimbabwe before coaching Free State Stars, Manning Rangers and Orlando Pirates in South Africa.
Asked if he will go back to coach teams in Zimbabwe, Barreto said he would only go back once things normalised.
Commentators have in the past urged sports personalities with a huge fan base to use their clout and speak out against abuses in the country.
Olonga and Flower fled Zimbabwe after they wore black armbands during a match in which they “mourned the death of democracy in Zimbabwe” in 2003. — Kick Off.