World Cup will be career highlight: Hondo

HARARE - Zimbabwe rugby captain Daniel Hondo says World Cup qualification will be a career-highlight for him and the majority of the Sables squad.

The experienced Harare Sports Club centre, whose career accolades include winning the British Universities Colleges Cup with Hartpury College in the UK, says guiding his country to its first Rugby World Cup in more than two decades will be the proudest achievement of his career.

“Definitely for me, going to the World Cup will be the biggest accomplishment,” Hondo, who will lead the men in green and white at the qualification tournament in Madagascar end of June, told the Daily News yesterday.

“Playing in a World Cup is every player’s dream. I’m 32, and this is probably must last chance.  If we don’t qualify I will have to wait another four years. It’s a big opportunity for me and a lot of the other older players, guys like Jacques (Leitao), Fortune (Chipendu) and some of the foreign-based players.

“Even for the other players. Playing in a World Cup will be a big thing, no matter the age.”

Zimbabwe will play in a qualification tournament in Madagascar at the end of June alongside hosts Madagascar, Namibia and Kenya, and Hondo expects tough competition from the three continental rivals.

“I will be lying if I say it will be easy,” said the inspirational Sables midfielder.

“Madagascar at home will be tough, they will be supported by a massive home crowd. I’ve played against all teams in the past, and it’s going to be hard. We just have to apply ourselves and not respect anybody too much.”

Hondo, whose brother Douglas played cricket for Zimbabwe, conceded that Namibia will be the biggest threat, but not invincible.

“Namibia have prevented us from going to the World Cup for a long time. So yah, it seems they are the biggest threat. They will also bring in some of their guys playing outside. But they are beatable.

“Kenya too. They have just played in the Vodacom Cup so will be prepared. We just got to deal with it. I won’t be afraid of anyone. The other teams are preparing for themselves.  We just have to worry about ourselves.

“It’s up to coaches to come with game plan; our job as players is to follow the game plan.”

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