ZRU denies racism allegations

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) has denied allegations of racism levelled against the association by national team manager Losson Mtongwiza.

In a letter addressed to ZRU president John Falkenburg and leaked to local media, Mtongwiza alleged that a cartel of white individuals within the ZRU ranks was working towards pushing out all blacks from key positions in the game.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: ZRU General Manager, Sifiso Made, centre, addressed the media while flanked by vice-president Colleen De Jonge, left, and marketing consultant David Crouch, right, at yesterday’s press conference.

Sifiso Made, the ZRU General Manager, on Friday told reporters at a hastily arranged press conference that the union has an open policy which allows the integration of all races in rugby.

“It’s unfortunate that some 34 years after Independence we are still trying to play the race card in rugby,” said Made, who was flanked by the ZRU vice-president Colleen De Jonge and marketing consultant David Crouch.

“Really and truly as a union we do believe that we don’t practice any forms of racism in the game.

“The ZRU is largely made up of elected officials in line with the ZRU constitution, which is contrary to allegations that black officials are being systematically side lined from the game.

“There are a number of elected officials who are tasked to manage affairs within Zimbabwe rugby, namely the president, vice-presidents (North and South), Provincial Board Chairpersons, two schools representatives, Zimbabwe Rugby Referees Society President and chairperson of Women’s rugby.

“Of these elected officials, two of these positions are held by white people.”

De Jonge and Faulkenburg are the only two white elected officials within the ZRU structures.

Made added: “The ZRU then employ eight people within the game, these comprise of the General Manager, Technical Director of Rugby, Commercial Representative (Marketing and Media Consultant), three Provincial Development Managers, an Office Administrator and Office Messenger.

“Of these eight positions, two of the positions are held by white people. In addition, appointments to the national team committees are made in line with published ZRU policies and procedures. These appointments are voluntary positions.”    

Made added it is not only Mtongwiza who has poured his personal funds into local rugby but a number of individuals have extended their helping hand to the cash-strapped union which relies heavily on grants from the International Rugby Board.

Mtongwiza also alleged that the whites within ZRU want to sideline all blacks because the Sables are on the verge of qualifying for the 2015 World Cup to be held in England.

This was vehemently denied by Made, who said: “Zimbabwe rugby will only realise whether they qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2015 after the Africa Cup qualification process in July this year. It is subsequently impractical to enter into Memorandum of Agreement to the World Cup if this opportunity has not been realised.

“If successful however, the technical structures surrounding the Sables management team will have to be expanded and the best people for the relevant roles will be offered new contracts irrespective of their colour, religion or any other demographic background.”        

Crouch added that Mtongwiza’s allegations have probably scampered two major sponsorship deals that were in the final stages of negations, especially with telecommunications giants Econet.

“We were asked to remain confidential surrounding this matter.

“The fact that Losson (Mtongwiza) has revealed that its Econet might be another spanner in the works to draw sponsorship to develop this game.”

Comments (1)

Now losson see what you have done.. The children now cannot play or sponsorship from Econet because of your childish behaviour.Shame shame.

Fatima - 23 February 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.