Zim Rugby Union lead­er­ship de­mands ac­count­abil­ity

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sports - Mehluli Sibanda Se­nior Sports Reporter

THE Zim­babwe Rugby Union (ZRU) top brass says res­ig­na­tions of the se­nior na­tional team’s tech­ni­cal staff was as a re­sult of them not want­ing to ac­count for their fail­ures.

ZRU pres­i­dent Nyararai Sibanda and one of his two vice-pres­i­dents Tapiwa Mangezi told jour­nal­ists in Bu­l­awayo on Sun­day that the coach­ing staff did not want to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the poor re­sults posted by the var­i­ous na­tional teams.

Cyprian Man­denge stepped down as the Sables’ head coach last month to­gether with team man­ager Se­bas­tian Garikai. They were fol­lowed last week by ZRU di­rec­tor of rugby Brighton Chivandire.

Man­denge, who was ap­pointed at the be­gin­ning of last year, only won two out of nine matches as coach.

Be­fore throw­ing in the towel, the World Rugby Level Three coach­ing cer­tifi­cate holder had gone for seven con­sec­u­tive matches without a win. The pa­thetic per­for­mances saw the coun­try’s flag­ship na­tional team be­ing de­moted from the elite Africa Cup 1A to the less ap­peal­ing 1B for 2017.

Sibanda dis­closed that Chivandire had cited pres­sure as his rea­son for leav­ing the po­si­tion he had oc­cu­pied since Oc­to­ber 2014. The ZRU boss made it clear that the poor per­for­mances of the na­tional teams meant things had to change.

“We find our­selves with an ex­o­dus; ob­vi­ously that is go­ing to hap­pen be­cause this ex­o­dus is cre­ated by the dis­com­fort of ac­count­abil­ity. We have to lose or to part with highly ex­pe­ri­enced and highly qual­i­fied per­son­nel. You must note that the de­ci­sion is not in­formed by any­thing, but re­sults,” said Sibanda.

“We can’t con­tinue be­ing in that po­si­tion be­cause we have highly qual­i­fied peo­ple, highly trained peo­ple, but the de­liv­er­ables are not hap­pen­ing. The prob­lem has to be looked at col­lec­tively (and) we got to try new things,’’ he said.

Mangezi, who is also in charge of na­tional teams, said when they came into of­fice on May 5 this year, they took over a union that had a ter­ri­ble cul­ture whereby peo­ple were earn­ing salaries, but not an­swer­able for fail­ure.

The for­mer Sables prop is con­vinced that even if the Sables were rel­e­gated, the coun­try is still hopeful of qual­i­fy­ing for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“We are at rock bot­tom; we can’t go back­wards. This is where we are. The union in­her­ited a lot of bad habits, sys­tems that had no ac­count­abil­ity. Peo­ple had posts, peo­ple had pay­ing jobs, but they were not ac­count­able. What we have said in our first four months is that for ev­ery sec­tor in rugby we want ac­count­abil­ity and the proof is in the pud­ding. We were de­moted be­cause no one is ac­count­able for any­thing,” said Mangezi.

“Ev­ery­one sits and says we are in rugby. We wake up, we go to work, but the re­sults speak for them­selves. What we have is a sit­u­a­tion where ev­ery­one comes up with an ex­cuse. It’s ei­ther the econ­omy, my friend this or some

o t he r per­son, it’s never that per­son. What we have said to each and ev­ery per­son is that you are ac­count­able. That’s why peo­ple are re­sign­ing or be­ing reshuf­fled. It’s all about ac­count­abil­ity,” he said. As the man charged with lead­ing the process to find the new Sables coach, Mangezi promised that who­ever is brought in would be made to ac­count for re­sults, as their man­date is to take the coun­try to the 2019 World Cup. So far, Mangezi dis­closed that seven ap­pli­ca­tions had been re­ceived, with four be­ing in­di­vid­u­als out­side the coun­try. The four ap­pli­ca­tions are from coaches in Western Prov­ince, KwaZulu-Natal and Gaut­eng, as well as New Zealand. The ZRU also said they had ac­cepted Chivandire’s res­ig­na­tion. ZRU said Chivandire made an enor­mous con­tri­bu­tion to the game over the years, par­tic­u­larly in the last 22 months as di­rec­tor of rugby and wished him well in his new en­deav­ours. — @ Mdaw­ini_29

ZRU pres­i­dent Nyararai Sibanda

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