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Mukuhlani replaces Manase as ZC chairman

Tavengwa Mukuhlani has been elected chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket after defeating interim chairman Wilson Manase, who did not make it to the new board, on Thursday

Enock Muchinjo
Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Wilson Manase at the Harare Sports Club, Harare, August 9, 2014

Wilson Manase was expected to be elected unopposed but was eventually defeated by Tavengwa Mukuhlani  •  AFP

Tavengwa Mukuhlani has been elected chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket after defeating interim chairman Wilson Manase on Thursday. Mukuhlani's election comes at a time when cricket in Zimbabwe, on the field and off it, is on the upswing and his challenge will be to retain the confidence of the ICC and sponsors.
Mukuhlani, who was vice-chairman of ZC when Peter Chingoka headed the board, was a late entrant to the election race. It seemed that Manase would be elected unopposed after former ZC managing director Ozias Bvute - who is seen as close to Mukuhlani - said last week that he would not run. Mukuhlani then announced his candidature on the morning of the election. Manase did not make it to the new board.
During his term, it appeared Manase had gained the confidence of the ICC after presenting to the world cricket ruling body what he labelled a revival strategy for the game in the country. His diplomatic and negotiating skills were evident in the appointments of Alistair Campbell as managing director and Dav Whatmore as coach. He seemed to have ended the frequent player strikes over payment issues and the recent eight-year rights deal with the Bangladesh company Total Sports Marketing would have sent a signal to sponsors that their money was in good hands.
Mukuhlani inherits all of this but his role could be a factor in how the immediate future pans out. A medical practitioner by profession, he came on the ZC board in the early 2000s as the chairman of the then Mashonaland Cricket Association with a reputation for being moderate, sharp-minded and intellectual. He is also credited with making the new ZC constitution.
However, his years as vice-chairman of ZC, under Chingoka and with Bvute as managing director, coincided with Zimbabwe cricket's lowest ebb between 2004 and 2011-12. Zimbabwe spent years out of Test cricket, players and coaches were not paid on time, strikes were rife and overall staff morale was at an all-time low. ZC suffered from a serious credibility issue over its transparency and accountability, and was forced to seek a multi-million-dollar loan from the ICC.
He will now need to invest confidence in coach Whatmore, who accepted the Zimbabwe job after the ICC sought a guarantee from ZC at that time that his obligations would be met. Apart from maintaining sponsorship deals sealed under the outgoing board, Mukuhlani will also have to maintain such goals as rankings, completion of the Victoria Falls Test stadium project and retaining talent.