Six returnees in Zim World Cup squad

HARARE - Jacques Leitao will captain a strong Zimbabwe squad named by head coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba for the Sevens World Cup in Moscow, Russia, on 28-30 June.

The Old Georgians skipper also led the Cheetahs at the last World Cup in Dubai in 2009.

There were no major surprises in the final squad, but the biggest casualty was Germany-based back Manasah Sita alongside loose forward Tapiwa Tsomondo, who had featured in every tournament for the team this year.   

The Cheetahs were drawn in Group C with giants Samoa, African rivals Kenya and minnows Philippines.

The Cheetahs won the Bowls trophy in Dubai four years ago after beating Scotland in the final and coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba has eyed another milestone this time around.

“We have six players who played in previous world cup in 2009 Dubai,”Nyamutsamba told the Daily News at the press conference yesterday.

“Their experience will help us stabilise and contain pressure for the guys who will be playing in their first World Cup. We are looking at finishing in the top two in our group and proceeding to the cup quarter-finals. Provided we play our best rugby, we can archive that.”

Speed merchant Gardner Nechironga, who is one of the six survivors from the last World Cup, said:

“We have been working hard, we have tried to correct the mistakes we have made in the previous tournaments we have played this weekend. We have are couple of young guys  such as Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Kilvan Magunje and Lucky Sithole who have been coming in the system and doing well. Blended with the experienced guys, I think we can do well.”

The other returnees are vice-captain Daniel Hondo, lively backs Wes Mbanje and Tangai Nemadire as well as experienced forward Fortune Chipendo.

Meanwhile, Edrington Africa, through their Famous Grouse brand, unveiled a one-year sponsorship deal for the Cheetahs, which will come into effect after the World Cup.

Squad: Jacque Leitao (captain), Fortune Chipendu, Tafadzawa Chitokwindo, Daniel Hondo, Kilvan Magunje, Wes Mbanje, Mike Morris, Njabulo Ndlovu, Lucky Sithole, Tangai Nemadire, Gareth Ziegler, Gardner Nechironga. - Brian Matamba

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