Conflict in background to board resignations October 17, 2006

Tsvarai demands Chingoka explains discrepancies

Cricinfo staff

Crispen Tsvarai, the Zimbabwe Cricket board member who was ousted as chairman of the Technical and Player Welfare Committee last week, has demanded that Peter Chingoka, the board chairman, explain what Tsvarai insisted was a complete u-turn in his thinking.

Chingoka told the media that Tsvarai had been removed after he submitted a recommendation advocating the dismissal of Kevin Curran, Zimbabwe's coach, and Andy Pycroft, his assistant. Chingoka insisted that none of Tsvarai's fellow committee members backed him, and the plan had been rejected.

Tsvarai told Cricinfo that he met with Chingoka in June and agreement was reached that Curran would be sacked. "I want him to deny that I met him in June and we agreed to fire Curran and Andy Pycroft," Tsvarai said. "I want him to deny that a meeting took place between me, Chingoka, Mukuhlani (ZC vice chairman), Ozias Bvute (the managing director) and Bruce Makova (the head of selectors) and that the resolution came out of the meeting that we would allow the current contracts of the two coaches to run for the contract period up to August 31 after which they would not be renewed.

"If that group agreed to fire the coach, who else in ZC could have reversed that decision? What has changed between June and September for him to suddenly turn around and start saying that it's me that was asking for the head of the two national coaches?"

Chingoka told the media that Tsvarai's recommendations to fire the coaches had not been supported by anyone else on his committee. "I want Cyprian Mandenge, Levy Hombarume and Stanley Staddon to deny that I fully consulted them on the document," Tsvarai said, "and that they gave me their verbal undertaking and their fullest and unconditional support on the matter."

A ZC spokesman denied suggestions that any meeting had taken place in June. "The appointment of coaches for the national and A teams is a matter for the board to decide on an annual basis, with such appointments taking effect from the beginning of each season, that is September to the end of the season [August]. This has been traditionally done over the last few years. It therefore does not make sense that there would have been an informal meeting to make decisions related to this in June. For this current season, the process has been procedurally followed on a democratic basis and decisions reached in unanimity by the board - the proper channel."

Tsvarai went on to claim that Chingoka wanted Curran and Pycroft in place "to give the ICC the impression that he is not a racist by moving along with two coaches that are not the best for Zimbabwe Cricket." He added: "I was running a programme based on merit regardless of colour. I started with the players and I was now dealing with the technical bench. I was determined to bring sanity to ZC through proper channels of communication and through the institution of a rule bound organisation and not the free-for-all that Chingoka promotes."

Tsvarai met with an ICC delegation, including Percy Sonn, the president, and Malcolm Speed, the chief executive, in July. "In my presentation to the ICC I talked about merit-based appointments from board to the groundsperson. I cannot stay in an organisation that is allowing reversal of the promises that we have made to the ICC."

An ICC spokesman confirmed to Cricinfo that Tsvarai had made a presentation to Speed and Sonn. "Both men found it impressive and helpful. As for the issue of Zimbabwe, it will be discussed and debated at the ICC's board meeting when Malcolm and Percy will offer their views on the trip which, they have already gone on record as saying, gave them a much better understanding of the issues affecting cricket in the country."

The claims could not come at a worse time for Chingoka, or indeed the ICC. The full board of the ICC meets in Mumbai in early November. It is widely expected that Zimbabwe Cricket will be given a clean bill of health at that time and that opposition to the Chingoka regime will be largely dismissed.

But since the visit, more opposition to Chingoka has emerged and he yet again faces a challenge to his leadership. He does, however, continue to have the backing of influential friends in the international community, and that might keep him in office for some time yet.

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