C'mon, we know who the real culprits are

HARARE - I have long thought of myself as immune to Zimbabwe Cricket spitefulness since one night – nine years ago – when a wonderful opportunity presented itself for ZC to hit back at this problematic journo, they probably thought, in the hardest way to do so.

I’d penned a series of hard-hitting ones for the weekly I worked for (factual, fair and balanced – I maintain to this day). Naturally, for an under-fire organisation battling serious allegations of mismanagement, maltreatment and blatant racism, fighting back a probing reporter provides the perfect smokescreen to hide the real culprits.

Back to that night at the fabulous Wild Geese Lodge in Harare. The occasion was the ZC Player Awards banquet. But as much as it was a night to honour outstanding players of that season, it also turned out to be a media awards ceremony in disguise.

Every mainstream journo who had typed the words ‘wicket’ or ‘bowler’ (one even often spelt it ‘bawler’) walked away with an award of sorts, expect poor little me – a surprise omission from the podium in the eyes of many who were there. 

They made sure they invited me – intent to embarrass so clear – to witness my colleagues’ crowning moment, and probably kick myself for having been such a jerk.

Unfortunately, that frosty relationship has continued over the years, and I will say it again, through no fault of my own, but an adherence to duty and obligation to keep those running the sport answerable to you the readers and lovers of the game.

True, it’s pretty normal to feel slandered, and in such instances, the channels are there, in the newspapers, to air your grievances. 

But it’s so revealing and hurtful when people you used to hold in such high regard, instead of acknowledging their shortcomings, hide behind a shameful smokescreen by discrediting two innocent journalists so as to make themselves feel better about what they’ve done to the sport.

When such disgraceful tactics are being used against you, your names being used as a smokescreen by the real culprits of the game’s woes, you lose your thick skin and get reminded you’re a mere mortal, not immune to such spitefulness after all.

You cannot stay quiet no more, not when you are being vilified by those who for some funny reasons see themselves as champions of black cricket advancement yet they are held responsible by the same long-suffering black cricketers whose dire circumstances they have created; the same majority black boys who just this week went on strike, again, demanding better pay and working conditions this administration has failed to deliver for years.

Ask any of those poor boys who they hold responsible for their circumstances – it’s not Austin Karonga or Enock Muchinjo. It’s not these two scribes that have made a lot of talented black cricketers of this country disillusioned and traumatised, some almost driven into lunacy by a sport they thought was a way out of the ghetto, and out of poverty.

No one, but the leadership of cricket itself has driven equally talented players out of the game, onto the street, with mad recklessness and alarming levels of irrationality that have prematurely ended careers before they even took off.

Tendai Mashonganyika, Tinashe Chimbambo, Robert Chifokoyo, Robertson Chinyengetere, Jemton Chinyengetere, Nyasha Chari, Takawira Mundure, Tendai Chitongo, Innocent Chinyoka, Tarisai Mahlunge, Tendai Machiri, Kudzayi Taibu, Innocent Chikunya, Tonderai Katsande, Paxton Chatora, Steady Musoso, Lungile Ndlovu, Keith Ali, Luther Mutyambizi, Ashby Mutumbami, Hilary Matanga, Alex Mavhiko, Brighton Mugochi, Kuda Samunderu, Patiant Charumbira, Tinashe Chaeruka, Tinashe Hove, Edzai Jaure, Romeo Kasawaya, Adiel Kugotsi, Freedom Takarusenga, Tapiwa Kuhlengisa, Dumisani Mankhunzini, Admire Manyumwa, Alec Maparura, Alexander Mlambo, Tendai Matemai, the Mwayenga brothers, the Mbwembwe brothers, Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi, Thabo Mboyi, Stewart Matsika, Prince Masvaure, Stanley Marisa, Mbekezeli Mabuza, Khawulani Ntuli, Tafadzwa Ngulube, Kudzai Tasa.

These are all ethnic-sounding names.  A lot of them stop us in the streets, every day, to talk about their tale. Because they know us, and feel comfortable taking to us. We know the talent they had, and it pains us that they never got a deserved opportunity, due to maladministration, to use it to the service of their country.  

Lazarus Zizhou, a father figure and legend of black cricket development in this country, knew he would get space from us in this paper when he decided to pour his heart out over his horrendous treatment at the hands of a game and organisation he has served selflessly for three decades. 

One doesn’t need to be a tool of David Coltart to see these things, this being a line these days for those who have resorted to shelter under their own propaganda in a shameful and desperate effort to mask their ills with lies. 

It brings a giggle, too, to imagine how David Coltart can possibly use the two aforementioned newsmen as his willing tools. By paying us? I don’t know if Coltart has bribed anyone in his life for whatever purpose, but too me, I find it hard to figure out how, and why, in this instance, it would require such practise. 

In any case, David Coltart has never come to us to influence anything. Instead, if we are not generating news from his thought-provoking Tweets and Facebook posts, we look for him, and we offer no apology for that. We look for him because we are reporters, and for the sake of our readers, we like to talk to people who know what they are talking about, not those who waffle. 

As sports minister and even now, Coltart is a voice of reason and credible opinion-maker on sport in this country. Personally, I admire these qualities in my sports minister, and some might be well aware of my not-so-flattering opinion of the incumbent.

Unfortunately, Coltart is white, and is always reminded of that fact. If only Fikile Mbalula was Zimbabwean.  

I’m sorry, I’m not angry. I’m just appalled by the cheap shots of seemingly sensible men who instead of correcting their well-documented wrongs, have assumed a false sense of heroism and erected a smokescreen made up of journalists only doing their job.

It’s even more sickening when the indoctrination of lies has been bought by people like national side coach Stephen Mangongo, indoctrinated into believing, foolishly so, that the same Austin Karonga, who has helped shape his profile through giving him generous coverage for four years in this paper since his days a mere franchise coach at Mountaineers, can all of a sudden become his enemy; the same Enock Muchinjo, who has closely monitored his progress since the junior coaching roles and extensively covered it for a decade, can all of a sudden become a detractor.  It’s total madness.

We all appreciate that Stephen is a very passionate guy, don’t we, but sadly it seems he is also driven by anger and insecurity as a result of ideas planted into his mind through the machinations of those who have caused so much damage to the game.

These are the real enemies of Zimbabwean cricket.

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