Zimbabwe coach in deportation limbo

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare:Four days after being served a 24-hour deportation notice by the Zimbabwe immigration authorities, West Indian cricket coach Phil Simmons is still waiting to hear whether he must catch a plane out.

His lawyer Jonathan Samkange has spent his time since the notice was served on Friday trying to clarify the sudden order for Simmons to leave the country.

Simmons believes the deportation order originated from Zimbabwe Cricket, the national controlling body that employed him only last year as official national coach to replace Australian Geoff Marsh, stating he is no longer employed by them.

He claims, however, that he has not been formally fired, although Kevin Curren was appointed in his place during the tour to Zimbabwe by India in September amid confusion.

Simmons, a former West Indies Test allrounder, told AFP: "I'm still waiting patiently to hear how Mr. Samkange has fared with the authorities. Meanwhile I am carrying on coaching unofficially, mainly among youngsters but with some players at the highest level here."

Simmons is scheduled to spend Tuesday coaching the under-19's. "I am looking forward to that, it is the work I know best" he said.

Simmons said he has no idea at this stage what will happen to him. "I am not even thinking about where I will go if I have to" he said. "Nor do I have any plans about how I will eventually deal with Zimbabwe Cricket about the remainder of my contract with them. I am keeping an open mind on everything."

The deportation order became known when he addressed a routine meeting of Zimbabwe provincial chairmen last week. The chairmen met all day to discuss, among mundane matters, the rumours of financial irregularities by Zimbabwe Cricket, which have been gathering strength here in recent weeks.

They were today Monday finalising a lengthy list of questions about these to be sent to ZC chairman Peter Chingoka, for clarification, and is being copied to national president Robert Mugabe as cricket patron.

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