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Provincial Cricket Franchises Boosting Popular Zimbabwean Support for the Sport


Local franchises have been established in five provinces: the Eagles in Harare province, the Mid-West Rhinos in the Midlands, the Tuskers in Matabeleland, the Southern Rocks in Masvingo and the Mountaineers in Manicaland

A program introduced last year by Zimbabwe Cricket to encourage the sport in the country's provinces is said to be bearing fruit.


Local franchises have been established in five provinces: the Eagles in Harare province, the Mid-West Rhinos in the Midlands, the Tuskers in Matabeleland, the Southern Rocks in Masvingo and the Mountaineers in Manicaland.

The establishment of the franchises was part of Zimbabwe Cricket's effort to rebuild and rebrand on its way back to the international test circuit. Zimbabwe suspended test cricket in January 2006 due to poor performance. The team had lost many key players in a period of high political tension.

The International Cricket Council has also called on Zimbabwe to strengthen its domestic establishment before returning to test play, and the franchises are an important part of that program, say the officials involved.

Former players and administrator have been returning to strengthen Zimbabwe Cricket. Notable appointments include that of former captain Alistair Campbell as chairman of selectors and Heath Streak as bowling coach.

Streak's appointment ended a stand-off with the board dating to his removal as captain in April 2004, which triggered a player strike, a subsequent exodus of experienced players from the team and a steep decline in play.

Chief Executive Givemore Makoni of Masvingo's Southern Rocks franchise tells VOA Studio 7 reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye that interest in cricket is growing and could eventually rival enthusiasm for soccer.

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