Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Zimbabwe national cricket team captain Tatenda Taibu has made startling claims that he was offered money not to stand up for players’ rights during his captaincy.
In an interview with ZBC’s Classic 263, Taibu called for change of Zimbabwe Cricket administration.
“After seeing all these things that were happening when I became captain, I then made a challenge to the administration and said ‘look, my players are not being paid well’. There was not only one thing that I did mention, some of the cars that were being donated were going to the administrators when they were actually supposed to be going to the players. At the time we didn’t have selectors that knew about international cricket so those were some of the things that I raised.
“However, everything was just thrown aside and instead of fixing the problems that I was bringing onto the table, I was now being offered bribes. My money was offered to be doubled. At that time we used to be paid in US dollars for match day fees and in local currency for our salaries. I was offered both in US dollars and for the money to be doubled; my wife was offered a car of her own choice from anywhere in the world. I turned all those offers down; I could not see how I would go on the field taking these bribes and looking at my players,” said Taibu without revealing who offered him the bribe.
He said all concerns he raised were not looked into and hence his decision to announce his retirement from the game.
“I then called for a press conference and announced my retirement. That didn’t make sense for someone who had broken a record, the youngest captain in the history of the game, someone who is being celebrated and all of a sudden I retire. Obviously people will ask questions. Obviously it reached certain ears and I got a call for a meeting with the Vice President at that time (Joice Mujuru). She was very helpful and understood what I was saying. She then summoned me to Dr (Gideon) Gono. A week later I went to see Gono and we had a very good meeting,” said Taibu, who said his life was in danger then, hence his decision to finally flee the country.
He said the new administrators that came in did not know much about the game and when asked what he would change in Zimbabwe cricket, he said it will be the administrators.
“The issue still lies with administrators. I love my country and I see how cricket is going in the country. I am not really sure if it’s 2013 or 2014, the Under-14 team’s last 25 players had about 12 players from Chitungwiza. There is only one Secondary School in Chitungwiza with a cricket pitch. When I was in school, I got a scholarship so it was five of us that got a scholarship to go to a cricketing school.
“If there wasn’t that scholarship, Tatenda Taibu, Stewart Matsikinyere, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusumuzi Sibanda would not have been. That programme grew each year to a time where we had more than 50 kids that were on scholarship. Last year there was zero scholarships, so now I want you to tie what I am just saying. If you take that group from Chitungwiza and say where are they because there is only one secondary school with a cricket field, those kids are probably lost right now because the scholarship programme is no longer there. So is it the fault of the players, the juniors, the juniors coach or its an administrative fault?” said Taibu.