Of Minister Coltart and The National Selectors Race Storm
Everyone and their grandmother has gotten a little bothered by a recent directive by the Minister of Sport and Culture David Coltart via the Sports and Recreation Commission concerning national selectors for representative teams at the highest level.
For those who do not know, the minister wants all selectors to have represented Zimbabwe before being considered for national duty.
This has drawn criticism from some sections of the sporting fraternity not least the current Convenor of Selectors for the Zimbabwe cricket team Givemore Makoni, who has no international experience. Makoni accuses Minister Coltart of being a racist bent on getting his boys back on the job.
Now, Makoni has proven himself an asset for Zimbabwe cricket in general being responsible along with Stephen Mangongo for identifying talent that might not normally see the light of day. While we think that he should be retained at as high a level as is possible in the status quo we find his comments unfortunate. To accuse the good minister of racism on a simple issue of policy is harsh to say the least.
While the idea of having people who have played the game at the highest level is standard across the whole world, in Zimbabwe it is a bit more complex than it looks.While there have been a few black players who have represented Zimbabwe at the highest level in recent years, serious test experience remains a preserve of a small cabal, most of it white. What should be noted is that a lot of them have pretty much been divorced from the local game.Whether this is because they have been frozen out or that they simply aren’t interested is an entirely different kettle of fish.
The reality is that at the moment it would seem that the solution lies between the position taken by the SRC and a bit of common sense. When we look at the ‘rebel’ teams, the emphasis was on being competitive, the post-rebel teams on survival while the new dispensation is now about winning. This means that the current setup has to incorporate all those ideals. After all, the majority of the blacks who qualify as national selectors are from the era of survival. This means that the mentality of these players going forward is from a different time. Not their fault. That is how things were.
The minister has said that the directive is not set in stone and therefore still open to suggestions. Kirsty Coventry has already suggested ‘a minority of selector posts be kept open for coaches or other people with technical expertise who may not have played for Zimbabwe, so long as the majority and Chair/Convener are ex-national sportspersons’.
Perhaps it is time cricket had a serious look at itself. Makoni’s reaction raises questions about race relations within Zimbabwe cricket. The fact that there are a significant number of people who agree with him is curious.
Every other sport is pretty quiet (or supports the directive). Haven’t heard anyone talk about bowls…