Reacting to an article published by New Era earlier this week, under the headline ‘Cricket Namibia fires youth coach’, the chief executive officer of Cricket Namibia (CN) Dr Donovan Zealand has come out with guns blazing.
The clearly agitated CEO admitted that CN still has a lot to do in the area of transformation by taking the game of cricket to the broader public to create awareness about the game, at the same time gauging interest, which could result in the sport becoming more representative of the country’s demographics.
“It’s indeed unfair to make baseless assertions and allegations that nothing has been done regarding the development of the game at grassroots level as this is simply not the case,” stated Zealand in a two-page press statement. Zealand tried to pour cold water on the burning issue of CN’s tortoise-pace transformation process in his misplaced interpretation to differentiate between development and transformation. During the week of 24 to 26 March 2017 Cricket Namibia hosted a development hardball tourney, which attracted teams from Outjo, Walvis Bay and Windhoek.
In addition, CN hosted the first Western and Northern Suburbs Development League with eight teams from schools in Katutura and Khomasdal in action.
“This year, our softball cricket has been extended to Outjo, Rundu, Oshakati and Nkurenkuru while we have been conducting coaching, umpiring and scoring courses in, Walvis Bay, Outjo, Rundu, Oshakati, Nkurenkuru, Mariental, and Oranjemund over the last six months,” says Zealand.
“We have challenges with regard to resources and ultimately our development initiatives are hindered by limited funding.”
And whilst Zealand remains steadfast that Manyande was not fired as reported, he contradicts himself by revealing that an agreement will be reached soon to officially part ways with Manyande.
“As sports administrators we are all aware that coaching is constantly evolving and the only constant is change. No coach is irreplaceable and appointed for life.
“Manyande’s services were not summarily terminated – he still receives his monthly salary whilst a settlement package is being negotiated between the parties, which negotiations have reached an advanced stage.”
According to Zealand, despite Manyande’s achievements in coaching the u/19 team at the Under-19 World Cup, CN has ostensibly received numerous complaints about his conduct and human relations towards both parents and young cricketers.
“As a result of the complaints and unhappiness surrounding his conduct, professional advice was obtained from experienced consultants.
“It was unanimously agreed that it would be in the best interest of both parties to relieve Manyande from his duties as the u/19 national team head coach.”
During CN’s coaching restructuring and alignment process, it was resolved not to advertise the u/19 coaching position since suitable candidates within the current national coaching structures were able to fulfill the role held by Manyande, adds Zealand.
“Restructuring of coaching and other personnel within any sporting organisation is an inevitable, normal practice and done within the discretion of the organisation, whilst having the best interest of the sport at heart.”
However, Manyande disputes the version of events and is adamant he was never charged for any misconduct nor was he hauled before a disciplinary hearing to be reprimanded.
The dreadlocked Zimbabwean mentor revealed to New Era Sport he was only served with a dismissal letter signed by Zealand, with the process of a disciplinary hearing.
“They say people have been complaining bitterly about my conduct, but why was this not brought to my attention and why was I not even given a fair opportunity to challenge the allegations levelled against me?” Manyande shot back.
A defiant Zealand says allegations of nepotism are unfounded, cheap, slanderous and malicious, claiming the anonymous letter sent to various media houses contains unfounded allegations towards CN and is premised on baseless facts.