By Robson Sharuko
HARARE – After 22 years in charge of Zimbabwe Cricket, Peter Chingoka has stepped down as chairman and board member, describing his time at the helm of the game as an honour in a journey that was pregnant with both good and tough times.
It’s a landmark move set to usher in a new era in the administration of a game where Chingoka’s figure cast a huge shadow for more than two decades.
Prominent Harare lawyer and businessman Wilson Manase, the ZC vice-chairman for the past four years, has taken over as chairman of the board, while Maureen Kuchocha comes in as the vice-chairperson.
Chingoka, who had a year remaining on his term as ZC chairman, decided to leave, with immediate effect, at a board meeting held in the capital yesterday promising to “continue to be of service to ZC and, in particular, to my successor, whilst remaining an ardent supporter of cricket in Zimbabwe.”
“I have just announced my retirement from the chairmanship and Directorship of Zimbabwe Cricket,” Chingoka, who took over from Dave Ellman-Brown in 1992, shortly after the country had attained Test status, said in a short statement.
“It has been a great honour and privilege for me to serve Zimbabwe Cricket through the good and the tough times and I remain with so many lasting memories.”
ZC media and communications manager, Lovemore Banda, confirmed the latest developments in a statement and revealed that changes had also been effected in the national team coaching structures with the country now having an ODI skipper and another captain for the Tests.
Steve Mangongo, a long-serving coach credited with nurturing some of the nation’s finest players at Takashinga Cricket Club, has been elevated from assistant coach of the senior national team to the substantive head coach and will take charge of the side during the home tour of South Africa and Australia next month.
Andy Waller, who until yesterday was head coach of the national team, has since been redeployed to the role of national director of coaching responsible for development of the game from grassroots structures.
He will also be expected to groom coaches and his appointment is with immediate effect and runs up to the end of his current contract, subject to renewal.
Brendan Taylor remains the captain of the Test team, but loses his other role as skipper of the limited overs team with that responsibility now falling into the hands of all-rounder Elton Chigumbura who now captains the ODI and Twenty20 national sides.
“The Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) Chairman, Mr Peter Farai Chingoka, retired as the Board Chairman and as a Board member on his own accord at the ZC Board meeting of the 24th of July 2014,” a statement released by Banda said.
“In his parting remarks he indicated that his decision was based on the need to have a well-defined succession plan in which it had been agreed that a year before his term (was over) he would step down and assist the incoming Chairman.
“He will, therefore, impart his knowledge based on experience both locally and on the international scene and at times undertake missions assigned by the Board upon request.
“The Board immediately appointed Mr Wilson Tatenda Manase as Chairman who has been vice-chairman for the past four years and Mrs Maureen Kuchocha, a Sports degree graduate and administrator as vice-chairperson. “This is in recognition of the steps taken in Women’s Cricket and the need for gender balance.”
Banda also announced that changes had been effected in the coaching set-up and the captaincy of the national team.
“The Board also looked at the national coaching structures and decided to create the position of National Director of Coaching responsible for development of cricket from grassroots and grooming of coaches,” read the statement.
“Mr Andy Waller was appointed to the position with immediate effect up to the end of his current contract and subject to renewal.
“The Board also appointed Stephen Mangongo as substantive National Team Head Coach with immediate effect and will be in charge of the forthcoming tours to Zimbabwe by South Africa and Australia which include a triangular series.
“Other appointments made with immediate effect include a split captaincy as follows: Brendan Taylor as Captain of Test matches whilst Elton Chigumbura will be in charge of the shorter version (One Day Internationals & T20) of the game.”
Legislator Tapiwa Matangaidze, a member of the parliamentary committee on education, sport, arts and culture, said Zimbabwe Cricket will always remain indebted to the contribution that Chingoka made to the sport.
“Chingoka’s tenure at Zimbabwe Cricket will reflect on great memories of visionary leadership and selfless commitment and contribution,” Matangaidze said.
“Zimbabwe Cricket will, forever, remain indebted to one Peter Chingoka. He has over the years made indelible marks in the pages of our cricket’s history.
“We wish him well in his future endeavours.”
Chingoka, a 60-year-old administrator, had an army of critics who accused him of allegedly running down a once thriving sporting discipline and this group will, without a doubt, be cheered by his decision to step down.
The English and Wales Cricket Board viewed him as a political opponent and famously declared that relations between them and Zimbabwe Cricket would never be normalised as long as Chingoka remained in charge of ZC.
But there are those who will always feel he fought a good, tough and long innings and, against all odds, helped transform what used to be a game for a few privileged people into a mass sport whose next star could be a 12-year-old poor boy from Zengeza who excelled at a junior championships in South Africa recently. The Herald