Racism row erupts at Zim Cricket

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket yesterday plunged into dangerous and divisive territory when the national association’s boss Tavengwa Mukuhlani accused sacked Chevrons coach Heath Streak of racism in his team selection during the ill-fated World Cup qualifying campaign which ended in tears a fortnight ago.

Mukuhlani who chairs the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has also promised to institute a probe into the defeat by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the tri-nations tournament in Bangladesh which also involved Sri Lanka.

Zimbabwe played UAE afterwards and lost dismally.

Streak, whose dismissal has sparked outrage said Mukuhlani was clutching at straws in the aftermath of the national team’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in England and Wales.

Mukuhlani said the board had been reviewing the team’s performance and Streak’s decision to change the team before the tie against UAE at the Harare Sports Club where victory would have guaranteed qualification, raised eyebrows.

He accused Streak of informing white players of team changes while choosing to keep the black players in the dark.

“Streak was a coach and selector, he was entitled to change the team as he found it fit but the question is why did he change the team in the manner he did?

“The white players knew PJ (Moor) was going to play and none of the blacks knew about it.

“Cephas (Zhuwao) was told during warm up and why didn’t he inform the whole team? The board is saying what was the motive behind?

“The board could have fired Streak in Bangladesh and Afghanistan where we lost dismally because of what transpired in the run up to the game against UAE and we eventually lost. We actually need to investigate this game over and above what we are saying,” Mukuhlani told the Daily News.

He accused Streak of jumping the gun when he decided to pour his heart out on social media when he learnt of his sacking.

“Streak’s project was to qualify for the 2019 WC and he has failed dismally so we need to start afresh. I even asked him to bring in Sean Ervine but he refused.

“We have failed to qualify for the WC on home soil. Instead of convening a committee meeting the board met and made resolutions which he obviously was not happy with but he didn’t respond to the MD directly who sent him an email after getting recommendations from the resolutions made by the board instead he chose to go on social media.

“In as much as we would have wanted to engage him we feel there was a pre-planned process to try and fight the board.

“All of a sudden that board decision is what is being talked about and not the defeat to UAE, not the nation’s failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1983,” fumed Mukuhlani

Streak, who is currently away in India for the Indian Premier League, yesterday flatly dismissed Mukuhlani’s racism allegation.

“Rubbish again...in previous games I dropped (Kyle) Jarvis for (Tendai) Chisoro who did well and he kept quiet but when I drop Zhuwao who averaged 16 only for Moor I’m racist.

“In UAE I played (Blessing) Muzarabani at the expense of Jarvis as well. Anyone close to me knows I’m the least racial person ever.

“He’s clutching at straws,” Streak told the Daily News from India.

The former national team coach and captain said when he came back in the national set-up as the head coach, he never had any altercations with the ZC chairperson, who once called him a “Rhodesian in the marrow” back in 2004 during the rebel era.

“He was very good to me to be honest. We chatted often and I felt his intentions were good that is why I’m surprised with how this has been handled by him.

“Ask Hamilton (Masakadza), (Tendai) Chisoro, (Blessing) Muzarabani and (Chris) Mpofu if they think I’m racist,” added Streak.

The fresh race row evokes bitter memories of 2004 when a group of senior white players and administrators strongly resisted the restructuring of the elite game by former ZC chairperson Peter Chingoka and a team of aspiring black leaders who included businessperson Ozias Bvute and Mukuhlani.

Those calling for the restructuring wanted the national cricket teams to have a true representation of the population demographics in which blacks where the majority.

After a decade of frosty relations between the ZC and former white players, both parties buried the hatchet and mended relations for the sake of the game which has struggled to reach its previous heights before the high profile rumpus.

Meanwhile, Mukuhlani has defended the sackings of several coaches and senior officials in the aftermath of the disastrous World Cup campaign.

The ZC, apart from Streak, fired the entire technical team comprising batting coach Lance Klusener, fielding coach Walter Chawaguta, analyst Stanley Chioza fitness trainer Sean Bell and Anesu Mupotaringa the physiotherapist.

The Zimbabwe A technical staff was not spared either with head coach Douglas Hondo and his assistant Wayne James shown the exit door while the Under-19 technical staff comprising head coach Stephen Mangongo, his bowling and batting coaches Prosper Utseya and Greg Lamb and their fitness trainer Walter Karimanzira also axed.

Tatenda Taibu the national convenor of selectors was also axed.

Comments (4)

There we go again, sounds like Mukhulani is stirring the race storm to hide his incompetence. Guys lets not be fooled, hatichadi, board my resign, we need people who love the game and understand it to be at the helm

Praz - 5 April 2018

Now that all the technical and experienced people have been shown the exit door let us enjoy paper cricket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mukhulani you cartoon channel is so boring

Daniel 5 - 6 April 2018

Thats abig, fat, malicious lie. I urge Streak to urgently consult his lawyers. This is a very damaging and blatantly false allegation! The whole nation knows that this is false. MUkuhlane must just resign silently! Its very naive in 2018 to try to use racism allegations against our friend to justify your gross incompetence and vendettas and self interests! Streak is a Zimbabwean for Zimbabwe. Anyway, all Mukuhlane has done is seal himself in his own coffin. Lets wait and see as the story unfolds

big - 6 April 2018

i personally belive the chairman is okay. streaky should just go go strike go

jimalo - 6 April 2018

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