THE International Cricket Council (ICC) have come to the rescue of the financially beleaguered Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) after approving a loan believed to be in the range of $3 million, Parliament heard yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA
The disclosures were made by ZC chairman Peter Chingoka when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport chaired by Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa.
The committee grilled Chingoka and his team over a number of issues including the recent player strike which ended this week, the racial imbalances in the national team and the total amount they owe their stakeholders.
ZC’s debt is believed to be hovering above $20 million, including a $15 million owed to a local bank. Chingoka said their budget for this season stands at $20 million.
The financial problems have resulted in a player strike while planned tours by Sri Lanka and Afghanistan could not materialise, while a proposed one off Test against South Africa also failed to take off.
During his presentation, Chingoka said as a desperate measure, they have applied for a loan from the ICC to pay off the players’ outstanding fees.
He said the loan has been approved and they should receive the money next week.
“The players (centrally contracted) are owed $320 000 in match fees from the matches against India and Pakistan last year but we should be able to pay them by next week,” said Chingoka.
Chingoka told the Parliamentarians that the current financial problems stemmed from their match against India where the TV rights for the series were cut, leaving the ZC with a $1.5 million deficit.
Another issue that topped the discussion which lasted for over two hours was the “racial imbalance in the national team.”
Mliswa queried why ZC continue to appoint white coaches for the national team, which he said is “against the government’s policy of empowering blacks.”
He also asked why the national team is still captained by a white player “34 years after independence.” Mliswa also asked for an explanation on why white players continue to dominate the national squad.
“The game of cricket is now in the hands of the blacks, the convener of selectors is black, why is it that at a time that Steve Mangongo who had served as assistant coach under Alan Butcher and had proved himself in the home tour against Bangladesh was overlooked in favour of someone else who was out of the system,” Mliswa queried.
“The logic is that Mangongo was employed to understudy Butcher with the view of taking over yet when the opportunity arose you guys looked elsewhere, are you saying he is not good enough?”
ZC vice chairman Wilson Manase responded by saying that while Mangongo had been impressive especially when he led the team to a Test win and an ODI series win against Bangladesh, he is yet to meet the standards required for the national team coach.
“While we cannot go into detail about some of the things that we looked at in the interviews, we felt he still needed a little bit of sharpening but the plan is that at some point he will get the job. It was a tough decision and we appreciate that he is a good coach and we deliberately delayed Waller’s appointment to give him a chance against Bangladesh. But we also have to point out that we are not racists, we select players and technical staff on merit and nothing else. We are playing Test cricket we have to be careful to preserve that. ”