SENATE this week moved a motion calling on the forensic investigation of alleged rampant corruption and maladministration at Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) as pressure continues to mount on the country’s cricket controlling body.
By Enock Muchinjo
Lillian Timveos, the MDC-Alliance Senator for the Midlands, on Wednesday initiated the debate in the Upper House and was seconded by party colleagues Gideon Shoko and Tichinani Mavetera.
The motion was adopted and debate on the matter continued until yesterday, although Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry was not present to respond to it.
“This debate is intended to create awareness and inform this August house and Honourable Senators of the true state of cricket in Zimbabwe and the urgent need for action to be taken,” Timveos addressed the senators on Wednesday.
“In order to understand the issues and problems that face Zimbabwe Cricket, it is crucial that one undisputable fact is brought to the forefront of this debate. This fact is simply that Zimbabwe Cricket was a successful, vibrant, financially sound entity that brought pride and honour to Zimbabwe as a nation prior to 2004.
“This cannot be argued. Our national team played a full Test programme around the world and had twice gone past the group stages at the World Cup finals into the Super Six stages. Our young Zimbabwean men competed on the world stage and won series in Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand. Brian Lara, the West Indies captain, told a press conference in 2003 that Zimbabwe could no longer be considered minnows in world cricket and that any team in the world that played Zimbabwe would face fierce competition.”
Timveos said the game had gone on a downward spiral post-2004 player and administration disturbances, and that structures have collapsed at all levels of the sport since then.
“The state of cricket in the country was sound and vibrant,” she said. “Our clubs were active and the game was thriving in schools and most importantly the national controlling body, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, was in sound financial health. If we fast forward to 2018, the picture is completely different.
“To illustrate this, we must take a close look at the current state of cricket in Zimbabwe. Over a 14-year period, Zimbabwe Cricket went from financial security and a positive bank balance to debt of over US$20 million. Zimbabwe Cricket went from playing a full and active part in the Future Tours Programme of the ICC as a full member country, to hardly playing Test cricket and indeed suffering a self-imposed exile from Test cricket altogether. Even after its introduction, Zimbabwe has played a miniscule role in the world of Test cricket.
“Club cricket in Zimbabwe is a complete and utter mess. There is no doubt that the chairman and the board of Zimbabwe Cricket will disagree, however as of December 3, no league cricket has been played at all in Mutare or Masvingo and only a couple of games have been played in Harare and Bulawayo. In a country where cricket has, for decades, started its season in September, the current ZC administration has been unable to even start league cricket in three out of five main provinces. Zimbabwe Cricket has proudly advised the nation that it has resolved its financial crisis yet it cannot afford to pay for cricket balls to allow league cricket to take place. In Bulawayo, it provides one cricket ball for two teams to play with, and it cannot afford to repair rotting facilities or pay groundsmen owed money from 2015.”
Timveos also touched on the ballooning debt placed under the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company (Zamco), questioning how the agreement with the special purpose vehicle was being handled.