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Coltart fingered in Mangongo axing

by Staff reporter
03 Nov 2015 at 09:16hrs | Views
FORMER Education and Sports Minister David Coltart stands accused of having wielded so much influence in the administration of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) that he even triggered the axing of Stephen Mangongo as the senior national team coach ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Mangongo was axed in dramatic fashion in December last year, just a few weeks before the Chevrons embarked on their World Cup tour in New Zealand and Australia, and was replaced by Aussie coach Dav Whatmore.

The Chevrons lost five of their six group games - going down to South Africa by 62 runs, West Indies by 73 runs, Pakistan by 20 runs, India by six wickets and Ireland by five runs - while only beating Associate nation United Arab Emirates. The senior national team has also slumped to an embarrassing home series defeat, in both the One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 internationals to Afghanistan.

Amid an explosion of the usual boardroom battles at ZC, Coltart is now being accused of exerting his influence to shape the game, and triggering the axing of Mangongo and remote controlling the running of domestic cricket. Coltart has always been a fierce critic of Mangongo and Givemore Makoni, the former ZC convener of selectors, with the two accusing the former Sports Minister of pushing a racist agenda to weed them out of the game.

The Bulawayo-based politician, who was accused of playing a leading role in smuggling the political baggage which the game was forced to carry ahead of the 2003 World Cup, including allegations that he flew to Cape Town to persuade England not to fly to Zimbabwe for their match, has also been a fierce critic of former ZC managing director Ozias Bvute.

Now, it has been revealed that Coltart played a key role in the axing of Mangongo. An email that he wrote to former ZC chairman Wilson Manase reveals that Coltart badly wanted Mangongo to be removed from his post.

"You have asked what needs to be done and I suggest the following:
1) At the very least Mangongo must be removed as coach of the national team. When a coach loses the respect of players it is very difficult to regain that trust. I know it is hard doing this so close to the World Cup but I don't believe you have any other choice. Of course, it will be difficult to get a replacement at such late notice but I am sure that any number of former players would step into the breach — what you need is a good man manager as our lads already have superb talent. I think that Douglas Hondo, Wayne James and even Ray Price would do a good job.

2) You need to at the very least get more balance in selection - I recognise that, politically, it may be hard to sack Makoni and Mangongo at the same time, but Makoni works closely with Mangongo and has lost the respect of the vast majority of players - he uses similar tactics to Mangongo. I am aware that he is not listening to either the wishes of (Elton) Chigumbura or (Brendan) Taylor and they were astonished by some of his choices. Ideally, he should be removed but if you can't go that far now, then I think you need to create a panel involving former players - bring in (Tatenda) Taibu as a selector so that the race card cannot be played and perhaps another former player and state that the majority must prevail. Then in the World Cup don't send the convener of selectors (that often happens with other Test teams) and leave the day-to-day selection at the World Cup to the coaching team and captain.

3) Those are the immediate things you need to do in the run up to the World Cup but you should go further. The tragedy of ZC is that there are many non-racist whites who genuinely want cricket to flourish among all races. You should identify those people and bring them into your structures as they will help you, not work against you. There are obvious people like Heath Streak but there are others out there. Stuart Carlisle is one but I am sure that people like John Rennie and Ray Price would get involved in the franchises if you asked them to. I know this is a balancing act - you don't want to be accused of being an Uncle Tom and no one wants to see cricket return to the days of white dominance - we need a partnership and I think that there are many whites and Asians who would work under you helping implement your vision, not some racist agenda. I think you would be surprised how much goodwill there is out there amongst people who just want Zim Cricket to thrive - they don't care whether it is Vusi Sibanda or Sean Williams scoring runs - they just want the team to perform to its best ability.

4) Then I think you need to deal with the fraudulent past. I know this is a tough call but those who have looted the coffers, at the very least, should be excluded from further involvement and ideally held to account. Until you do so you will battle to get the corporate support you need because the perception in the business community is that Zim Cricket is a bad brand - and they don't want their companies associated with it. You can only deal with that perception by taking some symbolic steps.

"There is more but that is enough for this evening. I recognise you have a tough job. No matter what you do you will be attacked for taking a stand. But one thing is clear, if you do not act, then cricket, as we know it today, or rather yesterday, in Zimbabwe, will die.

"I spoke to Alvord Mabena on Sunday about the state of the NRZ and he was speaking about just how hard it is for him to try to turn the organisation around now as chairman because so much of the institutional memory of the organisation has been lost. A similar danger faces ZC - if we lose the current crop of players, it will be hard to retain Test status and we may become (an) Associate member or simply a Test member who no-one plays against.

"If that happens we will go the way of Kenya and sadly you will be the person accused of causing its demise because it will happen during your watch. "However, if you act boldly and turn it around you will get the credit."


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Source - chronicle
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