Zim cricketers in quandary

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricketers are now regretting the decision not to renew the contract of Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA) consultant Eliah Zvimba.

The labour lawyer had played a key role in negotiating better working conditions and mediated in contract negotiations between the players and Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).

Zvimba was instrumental in negotiating  the $650 000 deal between ZC and the players for this year’s Cricket World Cup staged in Australia and New Zealand.

However, a power struggle rocked ZPCA at the end of last year and Zvimba’s contract was not renewed when it ran out at the end of 2014 which left the organisation without a chief negotiator.

At the moment, local      cricketers have only received half of their March salaries and are battling to get part of the match fees for the home series against Associate nation, Afghanistan that was played in July last year.

The cricketers are also owed matches fees for another home tour by South Africa which later culminated into a triangular series involving Australia in August last year.

The players met ZC head of finance Esther Lupepe yesterday morning and were told that they would be paid by the end of the month.

Similar promises have been made in the past but the players have not been paid their outstanding amounts.

“The system doesn’t work without a consultant (players’ representative),” one of the players told the Daily News yesterday.

“We can’t tackle ZC as players and we are now looking at ways on how best we can bring a representative on board but in the absence of one, we don’t have much of an option but to continue engaging them in dialogue.

“The only leverage we have as of now is the impending tour to Pakistan and it will be difficult to make commitments without getting paid what they owe us.

“We are still due half the March salaries and a bit of Afghanistan match fees as well as South Africa Test match and ODIs.

“In addition to that there is also the Tri-series with Australia and South Africa while those who participated at the World Cup are owed match fees.”

ZC chairman Wilson Manase said none of the players had approached his office to appraise him on the current situation regarding their salaries and match fees.

“In my line of work I believe people should be paid whatever they are owed. We will do whatever possible to ensure that the players’ concerns are addressed so that they concentrate on the game which is their core business,” said Manase.

“They just have to be a bit patient with us because we haven’t forsaken them and to show that we are with them, we are trying to get as many international games for them so that they remain competitive.

“I have always been on record saying that my door is open to everyone but sadly no one has ever approached me on any issue.”

The ZPCA players’ executive committee is faced with a mammoth task to try and get ZC to commit towards the outstanding amounts.

“I don’t know what’s happening with ZPCA it seems to be in shambles at the moment, we engage Alistair Campbell in talks because of ZC’s silence on the payment issues,” said another player.

“I’m sure we will go to Pakistan as long as ZC comes out in the open about our payments instead of just being quiet the whole time we need them to communicate with us and we will be fine.”

The ZPCA executive committee is made up of senior players. Hamilton Masakadza heads the board as president while Brendan Taylor the former vice-president is no longer part of the committee after he retired from international cricket.

Vusi Sibanda is board secretary, deputised by Prosper Utseya while Elton Chigumbura is treasurer.

“Obviously Taylor is gone now and would need to replaced but we have to find out from the old executive members first if they are still interested to continue serving the players,” said the player.

ZPCA has also fallen out with the Federation of International Cricketers Association (Fica), the international players’ body following their decision sideline Zvimba.

Fica operating officer, Ian Smith wrote to ZPCA after Zvimba’s ouster warning the players that the decision would come back to haunt them.

It seems his words have come true.

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.