Zimbabwe Cricket in tumoil over Tich Mataz appointment

HARARE-Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) are split over the appointment of Tichafa "BCOSSI" Matambanadzo aka Tich Mataz, as the chief executive of the newly created franchises.

ZC has appointed four of the five chief executives for its newly-created franchises and Matambanadzo was expected to head the Eastern Region.

Advertising executive Hugo Ribatika has been named as CEO for Northerns, the largest franchise be based in Harare. Stanley Staddon will run Westerns, who have requested to change their name to Matabeleland Warriors. Givemore Makoni will be in charge of Southerns, and Kenyon Ziehl is boss at Centrals.

The only outstanding appointment is that of the Easterns chief executive.

Ozias Bvute, the ZC managing director said the appointment of the Eastern Region will done in due course.

It is understood that the ZC board is split over the appointment of Matambanadzo who has a pending fraud at the Harare Magistrates Courts. He is alleged to have defrauded the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Cricket have adopted a franchise system in which the franchises will administer first class cricket in the country.

The franchises will contract players and will source their own sponsorship in addition to the  annual grant from Zimbabwe Cricket.

The establishment of the franchises follows recommendation by the International Cricket Council task team, which visited Zimbabwe last year. The task team said  Zimbabwe Cricket should establish franchises in their bid to return to Test cricket.

In March this year, Tich Mataz was arrested, together with his business partner Raymond Tendai Chamba, son of the late legendary radio personality and PR practioner Ephraim Chamba, on allegations of defrauding the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

At the time allegations were made that Tichafa Matambanadzo was contracted by the central bank to provide hampers for the BACOSSI program (Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention) but he failed to deliver after taking payment.

Last year Tich Mataz helped to record a birthday song for Robert Mugabe when he celebrated his 84th birthday.

Tich’s Matambanadzo family is heavily connected to Zanu PF politicians.

Some time last year Tich tried to bring US-based R&B group Dru-hill to Zimbabwe as part of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO Karokoga Kaseke’s bullish government sponsored obsession with high profile American musicians to refelect business-as-usual in the beleaguered nation. The deal fell through and no explanation was given.

In 2005 Tich’s brother Tendai Matambanadzo, a banker, and Itai Marchi, a Zanu-PF director of Security, and long-serving Zimbabwe diplomat Godfrey Dzvairo were given sentences raging between five to six years in jail, after they were convicted of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In 2007, the embattled DJ lied to a South African newspaper Sunday World that he had landed what he described as a plum job, which was going to earn him R5 million as Swaziland’s 2010 World Cup consultant.

Tich claimed that he had negotiated the deal with His Majesty King Mswati III when he had stayed in that country with his Kenyan wife.

"My job will be to basically advise the King and produce programmes for radio and TV aimed at marketing Swaziland ahead of the 2010 World Cup", claimed Tich.

However Swaziland Minister of Enterprises and Employment Lutfo Ddlamini who is the Chairman of the country’s 2010 World Cup went ballistic.

"I want to warn this South African newspaper and that Zimbabwean guy that we won’t tolerate such defamatory and derogatory comments about the King.

We have no contract with that boy, perhaps he signed one in his dreams and I’m very angry at this. How can we sign such a contract with someone not allowed into South Africa the country’s immigration authorities?

Tich was deported from South Africa in 2001 over allegations that he used false identity documents.

Additional reporting: RadioVOP