The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Coltart Plays the Political Card

EDUCATION, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, David Coltart, must be feeling the strain of the intense media coverage that has been generated by his controversial directives to guide the appointment of national team selectors.

A day after being told by Zimbabwe Cricket that his move was illegal, and could not be effected because of constitutional challenges, Coltart snapped and played the political card.

The Minister, who is active on both Twitter and Facebook, was engaging in a debate with Zimbabwean journalist, Darlington Majonga, when he suddenly lost his cool and played the political card.

Coltart insinuated, during that debate, that the ZC leaders would not have rejected his directives if he was a Zanu-PF minister.

Majonga had questioned why Coltart appears determined that changing the selectors would bring changes to the fortunes of the national cricket team.

"While your directive at face value appears noble, well-intended and in good faith, I think you are barking up the wrong tree," wrote Majonga.

"Even if we are to have Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, Brian Lara or any of the game's greatest yesteryear players as our selectors, Zimbabwe would not suddenly start conquering the cricket world.

"Rather focus on our lack of playing talent first instead of evoking an emotive issue that saw 15 (white) players turning their back on national duty in 2004.

"I hope you have not conveniently forgotten.

"By the way, are you in any way insinuating deserving players are being left out of national teams because the selectors are not experienced enough or what?"

Coltart then replied:

"No one doubts that selection is just one problem amongst many," he wrote.

"But following international best practice is part of the start of the recovery of Zimbabwe cricket. But I should stress that this directive is not confined to cricket -- it applies ultimately to all Sports Associations.

"And re 2004 -- no-one in his right mind what cricket to sink again to the depths it did then. Ironically at the root of that crisis was selection issues.

"We desperately need to pick our best teams in all sports in a colour, ethnically and regionally blind manner. Until we do so we will not play with our best teams . . . and that applies to all.

"Just look at the selection nonsense around Knowledge Musona in football which had the potential to seriously undermine our footballing potential.

"Ironically at the heart of this is that we need less politicians involved in sports selection and more genuine national stars who have done the business.

"Can you ever imagine Zimbabwe Cricket adopting this attitude if it was a Zanu-PF Minister involved?

"Politicians are not just those who have formal political positions."

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