The Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has whittled its legacy debt to US$1 million
from US$27m as it moves to financial stability, board chairman Tavengwa
Mukuhlani has said.
Mukuhlani told a virtual annual general meeting on Tuesday that the association emerged in a much stronger position in 2019 and is ready to take the game to the next level.
“Perhaps the biggest irony of our lifetime, the very same horrible year
saw us making huge strides towards making ZC debt-free,” Mukuhlani
“At the close of the just-ended financial year, we had whittled the US$27m legacy debt down to US$1m, in the process breaking the chains that had enslaved our organisation to an unending cycle of financial troubles.”
The repaid amounts included the US$6m obligation to the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as the loans worth up to US $10m that were housed under the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company (ZAMCO).
“You will probably recall that when I was first elected as ZC chairman in
2015, I made it clear that my board’s top priority would be to address our
game’s perennial viability challenges and to forge a sustainable financial
and cricket future for our country,” Mukuhlani said.
The plan required ZC to implement an intricate debt resolution plan which ultimately saw them engaging ZAMCO to assume ZC’s debts which had been choking the organisation because of high interest rates.
“Under the arrangement, we were supposed to settle the ZAMCO obligations by 2023 but, as we take stock of the period under review, I am proud to report that – a whole three years earlier – ZC is nearly debt-free,” he said.
In July last year, ICC suspended Zimbabwe from the world’s cricket
governing body froze all funding to ZC and banned representative from
participating in ICC events over government’s interference after the
Sports and Recreation Commission had suspended the ZC board. The
ban was lifted in October.
Mukuhlani said players and staff had to bear the brunt of the
suspension as they had to go for “almost six months without their
salaries and match fees, while the uncertainty surrounding the local
game and their means of livelihood surely hit them hard”.
In the outlook, Mukuhlani said ZC would focus on the revival of
club cricket and the re-establishment of a national academy. Apart from
revitalising first-class cricket in the country, a provincial women’s
competition was also on the cards, he said.
ZC acting managing director Givemore Makoni said the organisation would prioritise boosting its game development as well as domestic and international cricket structures.
“. . . having successfully navigated a 2019/20 that threw suspension,
financial troubles, a deadly virus and everything bad at us, I find
pleasure in reflecting on how ZC managed to cope with such a myriad
of challenges to emerge in a much stronger position,” Makoni said in
his report during the virtual AGM.
“Indeed, the beauty of the mess – an oxymoron if ever there was one
– was our ability to make the most of the difficult situation.”
He said ZC will “strengthen our domestic competitions and our
entire pathway to ensure that in the end our national teams, both male
and female, are very competitive and capable of qualifying for and
doing well at the major global tournaments”.
“As we all know, domestic competitions are seen by the cricket
world as the barometer of the game’s health,” Makoni said.