CRICKET, once an epitome of good governance in Zimbabwe sport, is certainly in the intensive care unit — a painful situation which is made more heart-rending by the fact that it is the same people who once made the sport something talked about and followed in virtually every urban household in the country.
Evidence of the huge success of the sport was that cricket started being played on the so-called township streets where hitherto football was the only discipline every child played!
Times have changed — unfortunately for the worst — in cricket, and even the Test status we once enjoyed is now hanging in the balance. The evidence was acutely shown by Zimbabwe national team’s dismal performance at the recent World T20 Cup tournament in Bangladesh where the country was the only full member nation of the International Cricket Council (ICC) that failed to progress to the Super 10.
In Shona there is an adage which when loosely translated into English says a hen has eaten its own eggs. This is unfortunately the sorry story of cricket in Zimbabwe in that it is those who took the sport to dizzy heights who are now tearing it apart.
Guess they draw their parallel from the political scenario of this country. It is in light of this argument that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)hierarchy should stop being self-centred and selfish and accept an ICC bailout plan which, among other terms and conditions, suggests putting the sport under some form of judiciary management.
According to reports, under the proposal the management of cricket in Zimbabwe would, for three years, be under an independent administrator with the current ZC board and management standing aside.
Once this condition is agreed to, the ICC would provide a $16 million bailout with almost $11 million of the money going towards payment of ZC debts.
While we do not have full details of the deal, it is surely an open secret that anything that saves cricket, as long as it is not illegal, should be given a chance and the current ZC management and board should not be an albatross on the sport’s neck!
If the current ZC leadership resists what looks a very fair and progressive deal for ZC then we will start to wonder what it is they are sitting on which they are afraid might be uncovered if they moved out of office!
The leadership will become national heroes — of course not the type that go to the National Heroes’ Acre — if they relinquished office, gave way to the ICC plan and helped local cricket recover from the intensive care unit.
Reports of what Caps United are alleged to have done at Gwanzura Stadium on Easter Sunday in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) championship match are not only sickening, but paint a picture of a collection of footballers and their management who are still living in a primitive era, for lack of a better adjective.
The first impression one gets on reading the allegations is that this could not be true and it couldn’t be taking place in Zimbabwe in the year 2014.
But one cannot doubt the professionalism of those that were covering the match — surely they would never sink so low as to make such scurrilous allegations against a team that many of us have seen — until the events of Easter Sunday — as more professional than all the other big clubs in Zimbabwe.
Clubs, Caps United included, are allowed to have their beliefs, including believing that muti can win them a match. It is their God-given right and we will all defend that right.
But that is as far as it goes. When one’s beliefs impinge on others and are actually a threat to others’ health, as was the repugnant and primitive act perpetrated by Caps United, then the rights and beliefs need to be curtailed and culled altogether.
The PSL and Zifa need to act against Caps United immediately and decisively. A fine, no matter how large, is not the answer. Caps United must be fined and also have some points deducted — I would say even suspended from the championship.
That way they can go and carry out their beliefs in the jungles of street soccer, for that is the only place such actions belong to. Letting Caps United off unpunished is condoning such dehumanising treatment of opponents and the general public that pays its hard-earned greenbacks to watch football.
Even more disconcerting is the fact that SuperSport is now screening more matches live than last season and imagine the rest of the whole world watching such actions from the Dark Ages.
The ramifications of this primitive behaviour are many, among them is that this lowers the market value of the club’s players, especially on the international market.
No professional club that does not believe in so-called juju will buy a player from the current Caps United squad — they will envisage that such a player has a mental block in his psychology, a block that makes him believe that he can only win matches if he plays with some potion of juju!
Caps United also pose a health risk to their opponents and all the people that work in the stadium, especially in today’s environment where a lot of diseases are contagious and the germs do not quickly die because they have developed some resistance.
It is ghastly to think what would have happened to someone from Buffaloes sitting on the urine and they having a wound or fresh scar on their body!
Caps United are also putting the game of football into disrepute and chasing away sponsors by their primitive behaviour.
They are also chasing away self-respecting members of the public from attending matches.
If the PSL have the protection of the image of their sponsors Castle. at the top of their agenda they need to act against Caps United. If they do not it can only be because the PSL chairman Twine Phiri is the owner of Caps United.
If anything, that Phiri is the owner of Caps United and also PSL chairman should attract a heavy hand against Caps United, if only to show that there is no selective application of justice at the PSL.