I HAVE recently found myself being asked quite a few times to explain the origins of the name Chevrons in relation to Zimbabwe’s cricket team.
By Enock Muchinjo
My reaction has been rather unenthusiastic. I have never used the term myself, or have knowledge of the first person to use it.
The only time it appeared in a story of mine was sometime last year when an editor or sub-editor added it into my copy — much to my displeasure the following morning.
The roots of the name, one might imagine, is in Masvingo. But how the name has stuck with the national cricket team is a much more fascinating tale.
As it happened, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) around 2006 promoted Masvingo as the country’s fifth and newest first-class team.
But with cricket going through some kind of revolution in Zimbabwe, teams would no longer be known by their traditional provincial names of Mashonaland, Matabeleland, Manicaland, Midlands and Masvingo.
So the five teams were invited by ZC to propose names for themselves based on their provinces’ uniqueness, landmarks or anything of sentimental value to their region.
A creative official in the Masvingo cricket set-up, it could well have been a fan or player, came up with the exotic-sounding Chevrons for the province’s cricket side.
A chevron is an inverted V-shaped mark, usually used universally to indicate rank on police and army uniform.
In our case, the chevron insignia is one of the most attractive sights on the breath-taking architecture of Masvingo-based Great Zimbabwe National Monuments, one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions.
There is even a Chevron Hotel in Masvingo town, Zimbabwe’s oldest colonial settlement.
For some reason, though, ZC did not go with the suggested names for its expanded first-class league, opting for rather dull geographic-oriented names.
The newcomers Masvingo became Southerns with the four seasoned campaigners known as Northerns (Mashonaland), Westerns (Matabeleland), Centrals (Midlands) and Easterns (Manicaland).
The names, thankfully so, were very short-lived. With ZC decentralising the game at the professional level by introducing the franchise system around 2009, the five provinces were asked again to come up with cool catchy names to go with their new commercial appeal.
Some of the initially suggested names from 2006 were back. Now we had Mashonaland Eagles, Matabeleland Tuskers, Midwest Rhinos and Manicaland Mountaineers (known as such to this day). But not Masvingo Chevrons!
Instead, the Masvingo side altered slightly from Southerns to become Southern Rocks. Disappointed but determined, the creators of the Chevrons name somehow saw to it that their beloved moniker lingered around the cricket circles, waiting for an opportunity, a much broader opportunity it has turned out.
The Southern Rocks franchise is no more, mothballed by ZC in 2014 as part of a streamlining exercise.
But in addition to the purebred Masvingo players it has produced, it also left the legacy of a name now popularly associated with the national team. A name I will also now, with little choice I suppose, learn to live with.