Message of Solidarity to the Zimbabwe Cricket Team

On the occasion of the Second One Day International against India.

We, the residents of Castle Black, are in Solidarity with the Players and Staff of the Zimbabwe national cricket team currently engaged in battle with India.

We are concerned citizens who have always held sports in general, and cricket in particular, close to our hearts. We have held faith with our national sporting teams through constant and disheartening loss, and we will not lose faith now.

We realise that the recent upheavals in the team and management, however shoddy and poorly planned, have ushered in a new status quo and the only way to move is forward. The only option we have as supporters is to throw our weight behind our new team and coaching staff, as the only other choice is to fail.

As Zimbabwean sports fans, we know the pain of constant loss, but we have never lost heart, because though we have often lost, we have never failed. Indeed, the recent qualification of our football team for the Africa Cup of Nations after many years in the wilderness shows the value of sustained effort, of never giving up no matter what the odds.

As we type this, the national Rugby Sevens team are on their way to Monaco, with the unlikely dream of qualification for the Rio Olympic Games still burning bright in their hearts. It is this spirit which we, as Zimbabweans, hold within – hope against hope, dreaming against all reason, and fighting on even under threat of failure.

Losing a cricket match is not failure, even if that loss is to an Indian cricket side with a combined age of fifteen and barely a cap among them.

Losing the first match under a new coach is not failure, even if that loss is by nine wickets with a paltry high score of 41.

Failure is giving up, and making no effort either with bat, ball or in the field. Failure is not trying to win, even when winning seems impossible or out of reach.

We at Castle Black cannot permit our team to wallow in failure, as we believe that with time and effort, we can return to being competitive on the international stage. Indeed, we may lose to India, but with hard work both on the field and in the gym, we can pressure what appears a hapless Sri Lanka, and can certainly take a game or two off New Zealand.

We hereby pledge to stand with Zimbabwe, whether in person or via the television, depending on work commitments. Our only expectation is that the team shows the same faith in us as we show with them, and gives their all for the “cowntry”.

Pamberi neZimbabwe! A luta continua!


Black, Joe, Mister.
Black, Izzy, Missus.
Lord Voldemort, Cat.

Southern Eye Whitewash, Justify Hooliganism

Following the violence-marred weekend football match between hosts Highlanders and Caps United, I made sure to read match reports from the Bulawayo papers.

I only cruised past the Chronicle, because their so-called reporter, Ricky “Traitor” Zillo, has demonstrated in the past that he has blinkers on when it comes to his beloved Bosso, and there is no hope of professionalism from that corner.

For this critique, my example will be a title from which I expected just a tiny bit of professional journalism. Southern Eye, how you have failed us. SAKHELENI NXUMALO is not a sports correspondent, it’s a Highlanders shill masquerading as a journalist.

Reading the match report, there was no mention of crowd violence at all. No, wait, I am mistaken, there was a mealy-mouthed attempt to barely mention an allegation of trouble. But not as fact, or that the reporter witnessed the violence, but in the context of allegations by Caps players.

The Caps players felt harddone by referee Philani Ncube’s decision to let Tarumbwa’s effort stand as they felt the striker had scored while their keeper was under attack from missiles thrown from the Soweto end.

(Some could argue that this is a mention of the violence, which, even if it was, would not be nearly enough to describe the chaotic scenes at the ground).

That is all. From the violence that rocked Barbourfields, scenes which saw at least one Caps fan hospitalised.

This morning, I spotted another headline – “Gumede warns Bosso fans.” I was intrigued. Having read the match report on the very same Southern Eye, with no reports on violence from Bosso fans, why would the Highlanders CEO be warning Bosso fans?

Let’s see what SAKHELENI NXUMALO had to say on the matter.

Gumede was commenting on the crowd trouble that rocked Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday during the Bob 91 Super Cup semi-final clash against Caps United …

Wait – so crowd trouble rocked the stadium? You did not mention this in your match report. Were you trying to hide it from us? Because your entire match report did not tell us of this crowd trouble, comrade.

So now that their intrepid Sports Correspondent had deigned to inform us of said violence, it was now Southern Eye’s time to … justify said violence.

Former Dynamos forward Mutuma constantly needled Highlanders fans during Sunday’s match and his celebratory run towards the Soweto stand proved to be the last straw for the home team’s fans and they responded by raining missiles onto the pitch.

It proved to be the last straw. They responded by raining missiles onto the pitch. Do you recognise that tone? That is the voice of a defence attorney explaining why his client committed a crime.

Delaying antics as Caps United sought to wind down the clock were responsible for sporadic incidents of missile throwing … 

Let me stop you there, “journalist”. Caps United players were not responsible for missile throwing. They did not throw any missiles. Do you know who is responsible for missile throwing? MISSILE THROWERS!

And now the clincher … point the finger of guilt at the opposition.

Caps fans were guilty of missile throwing as they pelted Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda with all sorts of objects when play was about to resume after the visiting team’s players had resolved to continue with the game.

Oh well, that’s it then. Highlanders fans were not responsible for “responding” to provocation. Caps fans were, of course, “guilty of missile throwing.”

It is perfectly fine to defend your favourite football team. I suppose it is even okay to try and hide, whitewash, justify and excuse football hooliganism when committed by your fellow supporters.

What is not okay is doing this in an actual newspaper. This kind of thing is for us worthless bloggers who know nothing about balance and professionalism and ethics.

This kind of thing does not belong in a title purporting to be an independent newspaper. Where are the editorial staff? Or is this kind of petty partisanship actually editorial policy?

Southern Eye should be ashamed, for very simple reasons. The initial match report should not have gone past editorial without clearly mentioning the actual events that transpired. That in itself was criminal.

Then this piece of trash, trying to justify and excuse hooliganism, should have been rubbished immediately. There is no justification for football violence. There is no excuse for missile throwing.

There are no circumstances under which a newspaper article can accuse football players of inciting violence (by simply playing football) and NOT condemn actual football hooligans who engage in violence.

There is no excuse for this kind of writing, unless Southern Eye editors are blatantly telling us they are Highlanders fans first, and journalists second.

This is pathetic.

Image from New Zimbabwe
ZIFA are waffling the usual nonsense

Advance Lostralia Fair

Format Image
© Joe Ruzvidzo
© Joe Ruzvidzo

This doesn’t happen often, and I’m loving every minute of it. Zimbabwe beat Australia in an ODI. I told my friends, pre-tournament, that this was entirely possible, and as I kept the faith throughout the game. That faith was repaid in wonderful fashion, and I have nearly 800 photos’ worth of evidence. Gallery soon coming.

Zimbabwe Cricket has gone crazy

Tinashe Panyangara celebrates the wicket of Andrew Poynter of Ireland during an ICC T20 World Cup match on March 17, 2014 in Sylhet, Bangladesh. (Photo by Pal Pillai-IDI / IDI via Getty Images)

So I’ve tried to keep my head up. Nolonga. Zimbabwe Cricket has basically been playing rubbish for a while now. Our organization has been poor, and I don’t think anyone in charge is really focused on winning anything.

Look, the current national cricket team coach, Steve Mangongo, has never played a single international cricket match. Now that we’ve fired selector Wayne James, the only man in the current selection structures with international experience, we have a serious dearth of XP at the top level.

But that doesn’t matter. What does is that Mangongo and Givemore Makoni (chief selector, fuck-all international XP) are running Zim cricket like their own little tuckshop.

Tell me something; does it make sense that Tinashe Panyangara, who shared a video of Australia’s Mitchell Johnson bowling with a WhatsApp group of Zim cricketers, gets fined $1,000 and expelled from the national team?

A resurgent Panyangara, who has been bowling well (if not fast) in a team struggling to field players with experience and (bowling) control?

“Choki”, who I admittedly play a bit of pool with quite often, is an asset for Zimbabwe cricket. At this stage, with Australia and South Africa around and a dearth of talent to compete with the two best ODI sides in the world, we can’t afford to run the national cricket team like a rural tuckshop.

Someone needs to rein in our selectors before Zimbabwe becomes Takashinga Cricket Club by another name. Zim cricket is struggling and we need all the ball control we can get.

We can’t afford to be fucking idiots about a cricketer sharing a cricket video with fellow cricketers. They’re players, they banter. Grow up, guys!

We’re shooting ourselves in the proverbial feet and I won’t take it lying down. Before we have yet another player revolt on our hands, let’s stop running cricket like our personal club.

We appreciate Mangongo and Makoni’s development efforts (and successes), but where running the national side is concerned, they’re painfully out of their depth.

I haven’t even spoken about Wilsons and Wilfreds and Metbanks and sponsors and rentals and $7 entries etc.

Guys, this is a national team, stop fucking around and treating it like your bedrooms.

We’re watching you.


Tanzania locked out

Apparently, Tanzania’s national soccer team have been locked out of Pandari.

I hear their stuff is in their rooms but the rooms have been barred, locking the team out.

ZIFA are said to owe Pandari around $200k already, hence the nuclear option.


Cricket is bigger than Chingoka

In this life, there aren’t too many absolutes.

It is easy to try and reduce our existence to a series of blacks and whites, but the reality is that we exist in a landscape of constantly shifting shades of grey.

The only absolute, the only thing we can count on, is that once in a while we’re faced with a simple case of right and wrong. A basic issue in which there is no grey area, there is no middle ground, there’s no prevarication and the fence has no sitting space.

The case of Zimbabwe Cricket, and the fallout from its maladministration, is one such issue.

Firstly, let’s stipulate that Zimpapers has never met a Chingoka they didn’t like. Even as Zimbabwe tennis wallows in the mud after years of ruinous admin by Paul, nary a peep has been heard from The Herald and co.

But let’s put that aside for a moment.

Peter Chingoka has ruined cricket in Zimbabwe. It is that simple.

There are miscreants like Robson Sharuko hemming an hawwing about players and their union, waffling about how they got paid this and that at this point, yet they don’t want to confront the real issues.

They choose to go after cricket players, who have suffered under bullshit admin for a long time, without considering why players would resort to unionising and industrial action.

What makes people resort to industrial militancy in the first place? Strikes do not happen in vacuum, they are a RESULT of something.

You have to wonder, is it negligence on the part of The Herald’s sports ‘editor’ and his staff? Or are there brown paper bags floating around?

Because there is a wrong and a right side here, and Sharuko is decidedly in the wrong.

I put it to you that Robson Sharuko would be fine if he didn’t receive his salary for six months (like Zimbabwe cricketers), because he surely receives a healthy stipend for carrying Peter Chingoka’s water.

The only problem with such short-sighted fools is that at some point, someone will realise that pee-squared have indeed been shit for Zimbabwe sport, and decide to wipe them off the admin map, legacies be damned.

It would be easy to call Robson Sharuko (and other Zimpapers sportswriters marching to the beat of his drum) an asshole, but it’s more constructive to say they are on the wrong side of history.

Your words (however grammatically fucked up they are) are noted and marked down for posterity. The internet never forgets, and neither do Zimbabwe cricket fans.

We shall overcome.

Asiagate: off with their heads!

I hear the weeping and wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the bitching, the moaning and the outright begging.

I don’t care about all that. I only care about one thing, and that’s me. Myself. I.

I am the consumer, the customer, the fan. I’m the one spending my hard-earned (and sometimes ill-gotten) cash money on tickets, on transport, on DStv subscriptions and replica merchandise.

I am the one screaming in the ground or at the TV, spending countless hours in debate and argument, countless dollars on food and drink, alcohol and snacks.

If you sell a game, I am the one who is cheated out of a sporting contest, robbed of the experience of witnessing unsullied combat between well-matched adversaries, all going heart-bustingly balls-out for the win.

If you cheat, you’re not cheating the sport. You’re cheating me. I’m the one who has supported you, I’m the one who pays your fucking salary, and I’m the one you owe your loyalty and absolute dedication.

Anyone who says “take it easy” on someone who cheats me out of the experience I’m paying them to provide should be beaten across the head with a copper vuvuzela. Where were you when the greedy bastard was taking money to throw a match?

Listen, it’s simple. You do the crime, you do the time. The only thing ANY sport has is integrity. If it looks like fans aren’t getting the contest they’re paying for, they will simply vote with their wallets and flee (just ask the ICC how tough 2001 was).

So no, all these Asiagate bastards do not deserve to get anywhere near a soccer pitch, ever again. Even the so-called youngsters who said they were just following orders. If you’re told to throw a game and you do, you’re guilty. It’s simple.

Speaking of cricket, I’m glad Hansie Cronje is dead.

The cheating bastard.

IPL is still not cricket

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – twenty over cricket is not cricket at all.

It’s a freaking lotto. To be fair, it’s entertaining; that’s the only value it has.

But the idea of the IPL, the concept of making it all seem so fucking Serious and Meaningful? Bollocks.

The Windies are about to lose the first Test in England, yet their best player is mucking about in India, banging sixes (and heavens knows what else).

I couldn’t care less about the Bombay Cellphone Chargers playing the Punani Night Bangawhores … get that shit over with, and give us our game back.

Money does talk, you only have to look at the branding mosaic that is the playing kit, but enough is enough.

Stop calling it cricket. In football we call it a penalty shootout.

Turn it off.

My poor Liverpool

The current squad aside, Liverpool has always been a big team.

Ask anyone out of Manchester, London or Milan … if there’s one club for the big occasion it’s Liverpool.

Against the ‘small’ teams? Not so much.

I can’t begin to fathom the reasons for this. I just get pissed off watching our former players now playing in Spain, particularly in midfield.

The range of passing Javier Mascherano displayed on the weekend against Malaga was unbelievable. He’s got all the moves now, pinging it sixty metres from deep, playing the short one-twos; how did we lose a player like that? Barcelona, eh? Oh.

And Xabi Alonso. Oh Xabi, the transfer which saw us fall from glory like a drunken slut on 6-inch heels on a sinking cruise-liner in a hurricane. Where did he go? Madrid.

I see a pattern. And what do we have left? Steven Gerrard, who I believe we should have sold when Chelsea came calling four seasons ago. Oh, there’s also Lucas and a couple of children. Yeah, with a midfield like that, no shocks that we aren’t winning anything.

And don’t get me started on the ‘strikers’. Andy Carroll joined MySpace last weekend; he tried to join Twitter but he missed. Seriously though, this team is one of the worst I’ve seen in years, and something drastic needs to happen. What? I don’t know.

I just know it begins with regime change, and not on the bench as is usual. I mean on the field … its time to put some legends to pasture, and start anew with fresh faces.

And by fresh I don’t mean Jonjo fucking Shelvey.