Zimbabwe coach to fight deportation in court

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare:Former West Indies Test cricket all-rounder Phil Simmons said that he is due to appear in the Harare High Court soon to show cause why he should not be deported from Zimbabwe.

Simmons, the national cricket coach here for the last 13 months, was suddenly served a deportation order last Friday by the country's Immigration Department and told to be out of the country by the end of the day.

Since then his lawyer Jonathan Samkange has been trying to prevent this happening.

Simmons said: "All I know now is that I'm going to have to go to court. So I've just got to wait and see what happens then. I don't know how long I will have to wait for the court hearing."

A member of Samkange's legal firm confirmed that the hearing will be in the Harare High Court, but declined to give further details.

Simmons was appointed Zimbabwe's national cricket coach in September last year, replacing Australian Geoff Marsh, who returned home after his two-year contract.

Following heavy Test and ODI defeats by New Zealand here in August and by India the following month, the controlling body Zimbabwe Cricket suddenly appointed a new national coach, Zimbabwe-born Kevin Curren, to take over from Simmons.

But the West Indian says he was not properly informed about this, nor formally sacked. As he sees it, his work permit remains valid. He is therefore seeking compensation and payment for the remainder of his contract.

"I'm just carrying on coaching meanwhile" he said.

It can take weeks or even months for the High Court to consider an Immigration Department's application for his deportation. And if the verdict goes against Simmons he would still be able to appeal to the Supreme Court, a process that could take the matter into 2006.

Zimbabwe immigration authorities have, however, been known to deport arbitrarily.

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