Clear message sent to the ICC March 18, 2006

Strike timed to embarrass Chingoka

Peter Chingoka: bad news ahead of the ICC executive meeting © Getty Images
In a move clearly designed to embarrass Peter Chingoka, the ZImbabwe Cricket chairman, on the eve of the ICC executive meeting in Dubai - and to send a blunt message to Malcolm Speed and Ehsan Mani - clubs in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe's second biggest province, voted to boycott all club games this weekend in protest against his leadership.

All the matches in the Matabeleland Cricket Association First League set for Sunday have been called off, and a stakeholders meeting has been called at Queens Sports Club where a decision is set to be made on whether Matabeleland continues to associate itself with Zimbabwe Cricket.

"All clubs in Matabeleland are boycotting cricket starting this weekend pending a stakeholders meeting to be held on Thursday," a spokesman said. "We are doing this to send a clear message to the ICC that Peter Chingoka does not have the mandate of anyone in Zimbabwe. So who is he representing in that meeting?"

With Matabeleland turning against Chingoka, he appears to have almost no support among any of the country's major clubs. Although Mashonaland backs him at provincial level, the six major clubs - Takashinga, Old Georgians, Alexandra Sports Club, Harare Sports Club, Old Hararians and Universals - have all split from the official provincial league in protest against the leadership of Cyprian Mandenge, a close ally of Chingoka and ZC managing director Ozias Bvute. A result of that dispute was evident in Mashonaland's substandard side during the Faithwear Provincial One-Day tournament.

The ICC has effectively endorsed all that has been done ... they know the reality, and yet they have done nothing to help
The timing of the announcement coincides with a move by senior administrators to advise the ICC of continuing deterioration in the state of cricket inside Zimbabwe. One source told Cricinfo that since January when the Sports and Recreation Commision appointed an interim executive - led by Chingoka - to run the affairs of ZC, the situation has deteriorated. He claimed that there was no evidence that the independent forensic audit into serious allegations of financial irregularities had made any progress, and added that the board had continued to be politically cleansed of anyone opposing the existing regime.

"If the ICC still chooses to believe that Chingoka is in control and has the support of the stakeholders, then we might as well all give up," he told Cricinfo. "The situation continues to get worse and the ICC has effectively endorsed all that has been done. They know the reality, and yet they have done nothing to help. The meeting next week represents the last chance for them to act"