Fans campaign to win place for Olonga in team
Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2003, 22:07 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Hastings: A group of local cricket fans are campaigning to win rebel Zimbabwean cricketer Henry Olonga a place in the Central Districts team. Olonga, the first black cricketer to play for Zimbabwe, was suspended from his Harare cricket club and may face treason charges carrying a penalty of death after he and teammate Andy Flower made a political protest at the World Cup. They wore black armbands during their opening match against Namibia to "mourn the death of democracy in our beloved Zimbabwe". Cricket fan Earl Stevens said on Tuesday he was leading a campaign to get Olonga here. "It really is a crying shame what's happened in Zimbabwe. It's a country that should have everything and they've got nothing," Stevens said. "Firstly, we need to see if we can get him over here. Secondly, we need to find out where he is to get information to him, and thirdly, we would need to organise a job for him and accommodation and financial support to get him here." He had approached Central Districts coach Mark Greatbatch, who has agreed to consider the prospect of employing Olonga, and Napier MP Russell Fairbrother, who said he would "push as hard as he could to do something politically."