As football remains in the wilderness, cricket continues to boomerang

A racous atmosphere engulfed Harare Sports Club as the Zimbabwe national cricket team —the Chevrons —began their chase for an ICC World Cup ticket in a 10-team qualifying tournament which kicked off today.

The Chevrons started the tournament in style, by putting Nepal to the sword, courtesy of a comprehensive 8-wicket victory.

Nepal had posted a competitive 290/8 in their alloted 50 overs, after the Chevrons had won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The veteran pair of captain Craig Ervine and Sean Williams were brilliant with the bat, with the latter scoring an unbeaten 102 from just 70 deliveries while the former hit 121 from 128 balls.

It was the perfect start from the Chevrons, in front a decent crowd, which rallied behind Dave Houghton’s men from the first delivery to the last.

Cricket in Zimbabwe spent three months in the wilderness after the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended the cricket governing body -Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) – for government interference, in July 2019.

The suspension came after the country’s sports regulatory body the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) wielded the axe on top ZC officials for several violations,  chief among them financial mismanagement.

The suspension was lifted in October 2019 after the ZC board was reinstated by the SRC.

While cricket in Zimbabwe continues to boomerang, the opposite is true as far as football is concerned.

The local game continues to hit the skids, amid an isolation from the international football community which has lasted over a year.

Zimbabwe was suspended by FIFA in February last year, for what the world governing body termed ‘third party interference’ after the SRC suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA administration for a myriad of allegations,  chief among them failure to account for public funds.

FIFA have repeatedly said the suspension can only be lifted upon the unconditional reinstatement of the Kamambo-led board while the Gerald Mlotshwa-led SRC insist that is no longer legally possible, as the ousted executive’s mandate was revoked by the ZIFA councils Extraordinary General Meeting (AGM) held in April last year.

CAPS United fan Richard Sande holds a placard with the message “Zim Football, Copy Zim Cricket”, at Harare Sports Club today. Picture: Lovejoy Mtongwiza

Consequently, all football national teams in Zimbabwe have missed out on all international tournaments for a over year, as the ZIFA-SRC impasse continues to hinder the development of the game.

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