Zimbabwe Cricket on sound footing
ZIMBABWE Cricket chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, says they are now in a strong position to try and take the game to the next level despite enduring one of their toughest years in history.
Mukuhlani said this while addressing the ZC annual meeting yesterday, which was held through an online platform, for the first time.
“Having ended as badly as it started, the period under review has without any doubt been ZC’s annus horribilis,” Mukuhlani said.
“From the game teetering on the brink of collapse to a global health crisis on a scale not seen in over a century, 2019/20 should probably go down in history as a massive write-off.”
The suspension of Zimbabwe’s membership inevitably saw the country missing out on both the women’s and men’s ICC T20 World Cup qualifier 2019 tournaments.
“Needless to say, the consequences of suspension were dire, with ICC funding to ZC frozen and representative teams from Zimbabwe not allowed to take part in any ICC events,” Mukuhlani said.
“Players and staff had to bear the brunt of the suspension as they had to go for almost six months without their salaries and match fees, while the uncertainty surrounding the local game and their means of livelihood surely hit them hard.”
Mukuhlani lamented the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic that forced ZC to void the 2019/20 domestic season and resulted in international tours being postponed.
“When we thought the worst was over, then came the coronavirus pandemic that plunged the world into a crisis like no other, with millions infected and hundreds of thousands succumbing to the respiratory disease,” Mukuhlani said.
“The pandemic caused the most significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar since World War II that saw international series being postponed and major tournaments being thrown into doubt.
“For us, it was a devastating blow, messing up what would have been a fairly busy calendar for Zimbabwe – something we desperately needed after enduring a terrible start to 2019/20.”
He said ZC emerged in a stronger financial position, having managed to virtually pay off its legacy debts, amounting to US$27 million.
“Perhaps the biggest irony of our lifetime, the very same horrible year saw us making huge strides towards making ZC debt-free,” Mukuhlani said.
“At the close of the just-ended financial year, we had whittled the US$27 million legacy debt down to US$1 million, in the process breaking the chains that had enslaved our organisation to an unending cycle of financial troubles.”
The repaid amounts included the US$6 million obligation to the ICC as well as the loans worth up to $10 million that were housed under the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company.
“You will probably recall that when I was first elected as ZC chairman in 2015, I made it clear that my board’s top priority would be to address our game’s perennial viability challenges and to forge a sustainable financial and cricket future for our country,” Mukuhlani said. – ZC