Former ally heads disgruntled provinces May 12, 2006

Chingoka again under attack

Cricinfo staff

Themba Mliswa: biting the hand that once fed © Cricinfo
Peter Chingoka's leadership of Zimbabwe Cricket is again under threat with revelations that a group who had previously backed him are now calling for him to quit.

A report in today's Independent newspaper in Harare says that eight provinces, including five new provincial associations seeking affiliation to ZC, have written a letter demanding his resignation along with the interim board he heads.

It would seem that the provinces, which had largely backed Chingoka until now, have allied with disgruntled stakeholders and are threatening to form a breakaway union.

If this is correct, then it would represent a bitter blow for Chingoka. Until now, he has dismissed protests, including the attempt led by Ahmed Ebrahim last year, as being fuelled by self interest and those with "hidden agendas". This latest insurrection would appear to be far more widespread.

At the heart of the move is Themba Mliswa, the highly controversial sports consultant and the man who allegedly threatened Tatenda Taibu, a move which led to Taibu quitting Zimbabwe, and one whose track record is far from savoury.

"Already we've been talking," Mliswa was quoted as saying. "One must understand that Peter is not good for the game. I never said Peter was good. I just didn't want players to be involved in the politics of the game."

Mliswa, whose record of involvement in other sports is hardly a reason for anyone to welcome his role here with enthusiasm, accused Chingoka's interim board of mismanagement. "The interim board has been plundering resources, and they have to watch out because when we get there, we will find out. They must remember that their time is coming to an end," he said. "What the interim board was supposed to do was to reunite people. Even people who they did not get along with in the past were supposed to be spoken to. Taibu is important regardless of the fights we had. It's time for peace. You don't talk of development when you keep rebuilding. You build a team because it's old. We've become a breeding ground for teams overseas."

Mliswa also said that the hemorrhaging of administrators from within ZC, which has accelerated recently, was of deep concern. "We are worried about the people being lost. We are losing good black people. There seem to be an elimination process and it's detrimental to the game."

Mliswa, who gave every impression of being closely linked to Chingoka last year, fell out with him during a special general meeting in December when the ZC board refused to force through the recognition of the new provinces, one of which was headed by Mliswa. "We saved Chingoka but what we fought for is not what is happening," he fumed. "The issue of affiliation was never a way to protect him.

"Under his [Chingoka's] reign we have lost more players than those who've come through. He's used the game to propel himself and to have a good CV. He could get away 10 years ago because we had no black administrators. Now we have better, more educated, better understanding and politically correct black administrators."

Mliswa added that the new provinces have also opposed the application for an extension of tenure by the interim board when its six-month period expires next month.