Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE national sevens rugby team coach, Gilbert Nyamutsamba, is targeting to win the inaugural Kwese Sports Victoria Falls Sevens that will be held at Victoria Falls Primary School over the weekend.
Speaking at Hartsfield Rugby Ground prior to the team’s departure for the resort town yesterday, Nyamutsamba said while their aspirations are to be champions of the eight-team event, their sights are set on the Africa Cup in November to be held in a yet to be named country.
The Africa Cup in November will serve as the 2018 Sevens Rugby World Cup qualifier. The top two teams from the Africa Cup will book a place in Sevens Rugby World Cup set for San Francisco, United States of America.
“We are going to win the tournament; that’s our target. We are going there targeting to win the tournament, but one of the objectives is to identify going forward what we need to work on per player and as a team. (If we achieve that) I would have done half the job, but winning is our main target,’’ said Nyamutsamba.
While gearing up for the event has not been the most ideal for the host nation, with two groups of players, one training in Bulawayo and the other in Harare, Nyamutsamba believes the stiff competition for jerseys should spur his team to match teams like Namibia, who are better prepared.
One of the senior players Boyd Rouse said they were looking forward to putting up their best performance in Victoria Falls. What excites Rouse is the presence of new faces in the team, which increases competition for places.
“We are looking at achieving firm stability, getting our names out there and getting noticed by coaches. We are all going out to perform our best as a team for the country, so definitely we’re looking to put up our best performances this weekend,” said Rouse.
“We are leading up to the bigger thing next year. This weekend we looking to see what players we have (and) what talent is coming through.
“There’re a lot of new faces this weekend, which is exciting,’’ Rouse said.
Nyamutsamba has named five South African-based players, Cheetahs skipper Hilton Mudariki, Biselele Tshamala, Brian Dube, Mkhululi Ndlela and the seasoned Gardner Nechironga. Dube, Ndlela and Nechironga left with other players from Bulawayo and Mudariki flies into Victoria Falls today, while Tshamala arrives tomorrow.
Zimbabwe will field three teams at the tournament, the Cheetahs, Goshawks and President’s VII.
This was necessitated by the withdrawal of Sierra Leone. Botswana and Zambia are sending two teams and Namibia just one side.
The Cheetahs make up Group A with Namibia, Botswana and Zambia A, while Group B has Zambia, President’s VII, Goshawks and Botswana A.
Besides the seniors, the Under-19 boys will also feature, with Petra, Mbare Academy, Goromonzi, Hwange, Plumtree and Bulawayo taking part on both days.