Ex-ZC boss verbally abused me: Players' rep

HARARE - A meeting between Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) management and the players’ representative degenerated into chaos last week after the parties clashed over calls for upward review of player contracts.

Insiders say former ZC managing director Ozias Bvute was at the centre of the row after he tore into Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZCPA) chief executive Eliah Zvimba during the management meeting.

When the Daily News approached Zvimba for comment, the ZCPA boss confirmed the incident, claiming Bvute piled on relentless abuse on him, in a fit of  rage, in front of helpless senior ZC staffers and ex-national captain Prosper Utseya.

Bvute, who attended the meeting as an “advisor” of ZC, is accused by Zvimba of labelling players an “uneducated’ lot who do not “deserve money.”

The meeting was attended by ZC managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa, deputy MD Esther Lupepe, head of corporate affairs Nesta Vaki, human resources manager Tafadzwa Rafemoyo, media manager Lovemore Banda, and Utseya who was representing his colleagues.

Vaki has recently bounced back at ZC after a stint with Metropolitan Bank, where Bvute has been the Group CEO for the past two years.

The meeting was hastily arranged following a player strike two weeks ago over low wage and poor working conditions.

Domestic franchise players boycotted the first day of the first round of Logan Cup games a fortnight ago demanding better contracts.

The lowest earning franchise player earns a monthly salary of $300.

Zvimba says the meeting did not go according to plan following the barrage of verbal attacks on him by Bvute.

“Just as I got into the meeting, I spent close to 30 minutes at the receiving end of Bvute’s insults while the other members present remained quiet,” Zvimba said.

“He (Bvute) told me had invested his own monies in ZC and that I was wasting my time talking to them about empowering the cricketers. He said ‘why would you want to give these boys money? They are not educated, they are not performing and now Zimbabwe is no longer a sellable brand, so why should we give them money? Right now you are losing in Bangladesh; you are no longer adding value to ZC.’”

Zvimba further claims he was denied exit when he attempted to leave.

“He shouted at me at the top of his voice and reduced me to nothing in that office, I just couldn’t stand it anymore so I tried to leave,” he said.

“It was not a meeting; I was being bullied and denigrated. We all know how ZC treats people, it dreadful. But I’m not a child. I have an integrity to protect, I cannot be treated like that.

“I told him (Bvute) that gone are the days when one can bully people around, you can’t do that to a professional like me.”

During the meeting, Utseya was also said to be an unfortunate target of Bvute’s rant.

According to Zvimba, Utseya was chillingly reminded by Bvute of the source of his rehabilitation expenses following his ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for an illegal bowling action.

The 29-year-old off-spinner was suspended in October from bowling in international cricket after his action was found to exceed the ICC's 15-degree limit.

Utseya is now undergoing remedial work on his action before applying for retesting.

Meanwhile, ZC spokesperson Lovemore Banda responded to Daily News queries over events of the meeting, but could not shed more light on Bvute’s role since the meeting was “not a public gathering.”

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond,” he said.

“The meeting on Friday the 14th was the latest in talks that Zimbabwe Cricket and the ZPCA had and will continue to have, given our common purpose.

“As to the composition of the ZC delegation to the meeting and the discussions therein, given that this was not a public gathering, we hold such issues confidential to the two parties whose meeting it was.

“What we consider in the public interest, we have posted on our website.”

According to meeting minutes we obtained, contracts were cut from 13 per franchise to 10. For every franchise, the captain and his deputy will earn a gross of $1500 while two seniors in terms of performance hierarchy will gross $1000 with six more receiving $800 per month.

This effectively means a total of 12 players across the four franchises who signed their contracts will be affected by the new structure.

Zvimba, however, rejected the proposed structure.

“To me it’s null and void,” he said.

“I’m not part of this. If anyone wants to take it, then let it be. We would rather have another meeting where we sit down as mature individuals, greet each other nicely and discuss facts and figures, and not this bullying that took place.”

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.