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Coltart speaks on racism claims

Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart has described as “nonsensical” racism allegations on a Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) directive in the appointment of national team selectors.

BY MICHAEL MADYIRA

Coltart, through the SRC on Wednesday ordered that from February 1, all national sports associations whose team selections are handled by national selectors ensure that such selectors have represented the country in that specific sporting discipline.

The directive, which mainly affects cricket and bowls, sparked a racism hurricane with Zimbabwe Cricket convener of selectors Givemore Makoni leading allegations that Coltart was on a move to restore white dominance in the sport.

Makoni sensationally claimed the directive would shut out blacks in national team selection and coaching ranks since more whites have played the game.

Most sporting disciplines in Zimbabwe had coaches with the full mandate of selecting their own players but even rugby, which is not affected by the directive, joined in the growing chorus of disapproval.

Makoni also questioned Coltart’s patriotism, alleging the minister played an instrumental role in the black armband protest by Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, as well as discouraging the England team from coming to Zimbabwe during the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

But Coltart yesterday took aim at Makoni, saying the directive did not affect the appointment of national team coaches but was just limited to selectors.

He said Makoni’s frustration came from the insecurity of losing his post as convener of selectors but that he did not have to worry since his role as Southern Rocks chief executive officer would not be affected.

“I note that Mr Makoni suggests that the directive will make Mr Stephen Mangongo ineligible for appointment as national coach [as part of an alleged further racist agenda] which is also false as the directive does not apply to coaches,” said Coltart.

“Nowhere in the directive does it state that a prerequisite for appointment as a national coach must be international experience. Therefore any suggestions that the directives in general are racist are patently false and nonsensical.

“Whilst it is regrettable that they inevitably affect some people who do not have international experience, it would be improper to allow the personal interests of a few individuals to compromise Zimbabwe’s national interest,” Coltart said.

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