Former Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka has died. Chingoka, who was 65, was one of the first black Zimbabweans to make his name in cricket, initially as a player and subsequently in administration.
As a seamer and a useful lower-order batsman in his youth, Chingoka captained the South African African XI that played in the Gillette Cup knockout competition in 1975-76 and 1976-77, counting Barry Richards among his dismissals.
While his playing career never took off, Chingoka became an increasingly important figure in Zimbabwean cricket administration after independence in 1980, and was appointed vice-president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union in 1990. Two years later, Chingoka took over from David Ellman-Brown as president, overseeing the most successful period of Zimbabwean cricket in the 1990s, and holding the position for many years.
ICC paid tribute to Chingoka’s achievements, drawing attention to his contribution to the game not only in Zimbabwe, but “across Africa”. As well as holding the positions of ZCU president, and later chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, Chingoka was also a member of the ICC Board.
“The death of Mr. Chingoka is sad news for the cricket world,” ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said. “He was widely acknowledged as an important leader in cricket in Zimbabwe and was a respected member of the ICC Board. It was with great sadness that we learnt of his death. On behalf of the ICC, I would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
Chingoka’s time in charge was not without its difficulties, however, and his tenure increasingly mirrored the decline of Zimbabwe as a whole, with an exodus of talent, the collapse of established structures and allegations of mismanagement. He stepped down as chairman of ZC in July 2014 following a string of controversies regarding the board’s financial state and players’ salaries, but remained available as a consultant to the ZC leadership.
“Though Peter had retired from the active administration of cricket, he still remained a vital cog and a repository of cricket knowledge in the country which could be called upon to give wise counsel at any time,” a statement by Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission said. “The void that Peter has left will undoubtedly be very difficult to fill.”