“Hockey team selection is biased”

Don Makanyanga
FORMER Hockey Association of Zimbabwe president Humphrey Chigwedere has made sensational claims that players who represent the country are not chosen on merit but on how deep their parents’ pockets are.

Chigwedere, who was at the helm of the association from 2014 to 2016, did not stand for re-election during polls which saw Grant Campbell taking over the reins last year.He cited poor governance and lack of transparency as some of the reasons he pulled out of the race.

“There is lack of transparency and fairness when it comes to the selection of provincial teams as there is bias towards former Group A schools.

“At national team level players and officials are selected not on merit but rather on resources and the same applies to officials who are assigned for international assignments,” Chigwedere said.

He further alleged that there is a lack of will to amend the constitution from a clique that is determined to keep the sport a preserve of a certain race.

“I raised the issue on the amendment of the constitution on several occasions but it died in its infancy and this also contributed to my decision not to stand at the last elections,” said Chigwedere.

However, HAZ board member responsible for marketing Max Makuvise dismissed the allegations.

“Whilst it is disappointing that he felt it prudent to go to the press having been an executive member of HAZ for at least 10 years it is his right to do so and we hold no ill will,” said Makuvise.

“Our constitution is being amended to fall in line with National and Federation of International Hockey standards and will be presented for adoption at our AGM on 30th of September.”

Makuvise said selection of players for national and provincial teams was done on an open forum.

“When trials are held they are done on an open basis, the main reason they (players from former Group A schools) are seen more prominently at trials is because they have facilities at their schools to enable them to play hockey.” he said.

“We are in the process of changing this through adopting the new international practice of pathways.

“In this process players will be tracked from a young age and identified talent will be monitored closely with a playing career path being mapped out for them so that they can reach their full potential as players. The same will be instituted for coaches, umpires and technical officials.”

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  • albert Chigohwe

    Chigwedere is not far from the truth. Lets face the facts.Hockey is an expensive sport. the hockey stick is quite pricy and some of us man of colour find it out of reach pocketwise . The hockey kit is very expensive and many man of colour cannot afford or they give preference to soccer and may be basket ball. The boys/girls from the former group A and private schools have an obvious advantage in that they play in a league that guarantees them game time every Friday for boys and every Saturday for girls for a full term which is 12 weeks in addition they have tournaments. Another very important aspect is the hockey tour to South Africa tournaments which are usually done by most private schools as pre seaon training and our boys/girls from former group B schools rarely have such opportunities. An attempt was made in particular in 2012 and 2013 to include former group B teams in the league and three schools were keen for the boys league. The problems that were glaring in most of them were not fulfilling of fixtures, lack of hockey sticks if they come to the fixture and some times playing without boots which is a non -starter in hockey.The disadvantages are many and consequently the selection process in not necessarily racial but at skills level the man of colour is already at a disadvantage. Please take note of Hippo Valley which is doing a fantastic job but its only one province.. Masvingo