SOMETIME last year, Sables manager Losson Mtongwiza was questioned by players — both black and white — over his poor management at the helm of the national rugby side.
He was accused of neglecting his welfare duties and interfering in technical issues and team selection.
But last week Mtongwiza turned the tables on the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) and repeated the tired cliché of racism which was propounded by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) three weeks ago when they appeared before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports and Arts and Culture.
“Basically, the issue is that the players are not happy with the way Mtongwiza treats the players. They feel that as a team manager, instead of concentrating on player welfare and listening to the players’ concerns, he is interfering too much in technical issues and influencing team selection,” read part of the petition.
In his letter of complaint to ZRU boss John Falkenberg, Mtongwiza is not addressing any of the issues that have been affecting the players and his alleged apparent neglect of duty, but instead, deflects his shortcomings by claiming racism.
He is crying foul perhaps because he has been asked to do his job which he has neglected or is unable to do. He is simply taking a leaf from other failures like Givemore Makoni, who believe they are entitled to hold positions simply because they are black.
There are bigger problems in rugby than Mtongwiza crying foul over the leadership of the union because the organisation is mainly a Harare-boys club and efforts that go on in other parts of the country are not being recognised.
And Mtongwiza is part of that problem. He should not look at what benefits him; instead he should look at the game at large and the development of the sport across the country.
Whether the team is all white or all black is neither here nor there. It is about merit and what, in the long term, will benefit the game and its development.
Every sane person would, however, agree with Mtongwiza on issues of corporate governance and qualifications for certain personnel in ZRU.
There are bigger things to focus on locally— the World Cup being the ultimate — making sure that the game is grown from schools through provinces and to the national level. It is heartening to know that the Storm Summer Sevens, one of the few examples of developing the game and partnerships with sponsors, went ahead without any problems.
It must be remembered that sponsors are turned away by squabbles and ultimately, it’s the boys and girls out there who do not get to play the game.
Sports administrators must shelve their selfishness and work for the good of the game.