Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket are already looking beyond Heath Streak and will go ahead with the search for a new technical team despite the furore surrounding the sacking of national team coach and his entire staff for last week.
Streak was fired after Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the ICC World Cup to be held in England and Wales next year but the former Zimbabwe skipper has launched a legal battle challenging his dismissal.
It has also emerged that some of the backroom staff – including Walter Chawaguta, Stanley Chioza, Douglas Hondo, Prosper Utseya, Gregory Lamb and Convenor of Selectors Tatenda Taibu – have all handed their resignations to the board as demanded by the authorities.
This is likely to complicate Streak’s battle to retain his job as others have seemingly accepted their fate, conceding they came short in their discharge of duties to the expectations of their employer, and chosen to hand in their resignations.
The ZC said Streak’s contract contained a clause in which qualification for the World Cup was paramount.
The former Zimbabwe captain is currently in India working in the Indian Premier League and some of the ZC board members were unhappy with this suggesting it showed his priorities were divided and he could afford World Cup failure.
ZC board chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, told The Herald that the association will not back down to pressure from forces led by politicians that have ganged up this week demanding the resignation of his board.
Mukuhlani said Streak was dismissed after he failed to meet the contractual obligation to help the team qualify for the World Cup while the Under-19 side failed to meet their target at the recent ICC Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
With Zimbabwe scheduled to host Australia and Pakistan in a triangular series within the next two months, Mukuhlani said the board will take steps to ensure there are structures to prepare for the assignments.
“The first thing is we have to resume our domestic cricket. Game development is working flat out to resume the domestic cricket and obviously adverts are going to be flighted for the various posts that have fallen vacant.
“We hope within the next six weeks we would have filled in those vacancies well in time for the triangular series. So there is ample time to put the structures to prepare for that series,” said Mukuhlani.
The sacked members included national team batting coach Lance Klusener, fielding coach Chawaguta, analyst Chioza, fitness trainer Sean Bell and physiotherapist Anesu Mupotaringa.
The Zimbabwe A coach Hondo and his assistant Wayne James were also shown the exit along with the Under-19 technical staff that included head coach Steve Mangongo, bowling coach Utseya, batting coach Lamb and fitness trainer Walter Karimanzira.
Convenor Taibu was also sacked.
Mukuhlani said the affected officials could still reapply for any positions at ZC that may be available in the future.
According to the board, their applications will be considered in an independent, fair and impartial manner and the outcome of all applications will be based strictly on merit.
“All we wanted to do was to look at the structures without putting heads there so that we are not clouded and draw new terms of references, new objectives, new targets, new milestones and then say look here is where we are.
‘‘Can you do this?
“I think we need to be clear why we asked Tatenda to step aside. The convenor was not able to watch domestic cricket because he is resident in Liverpool. That became a point of contention with stakeholders.
“When we brought in Tatenda to be convenor, it was the same time he was relocating to England. Initially, we actually understood his predicament, his family was settling in England and so he needed to be there with them but, thereafter, we did try to convince the convenor that you need to be in Zimbabwe and we have not made progress.
“What has ended up happening was that Heath has been the selector, the convenor, the coach for the Zimbabweans – all in one – for the Zimbabwe national team.
“We felt since the convenor cannot be able to be in Zimbabwe we needed to ask him to step aside. I have no doubt that in terms of pedigree he is arguably one of the best candidates you can have in Zimbabwe for that job, or even any other role within ZC he can find a place.
“But for as long as he is based in Liverpool it becomes difficult. The board does not accuse him of anything wrong other than the fact that he does not have time to watch games. So a new selection committee will be put in place.
“If Tatenda can commit to make time to watch domestic cricket, surely he will be considered. But if he doesn’t have time we will definitely look at people with the time to watch games. It will include former players and we may even include some seasoned coaches into the selection panel.”