TJ is in, says Dawson

HARARE - Confusion continues over the make-up of the Sables squad with coach Brendan Dawson yesterday insisting that Old Hararians eighthman TJ Chifokoyo is in the squad picked for the World Cup qualifiers despite missing from the list released by the union last week.

Chifokoyo was glaringly missing from the 30-man preliminary squad announced by the ZRU last week, but yesterday Dawson told the Daily News that he selected the Old Boys loose forward and his omission from the list could have been a typing error.

“TJ is in, I selected him,” said Dawson.

A strong ball carrier with superb running lines, Chifokoyo’s non-appearance on the squad list had drawn sharp criticism in the rugby fraternity.

Dawson added that England-based loose forward Kingsley Lang, who was also missing from the squad released by ZRU, has also been included and is expected to arrive in Harare on June 10.

Asked to comment on the criticism directed at his squad, Dawson retorted:

“I haven’t heard any of those complaints. Who has been complaining? I’m quite happy (with the squad), if I wasn’t happy I wouldn’t have picked the squad.”

Dawson, a member of the last Zimbabwe team to play in the World Cup back in 1992, said there was no place in the squad for Scotland-based flank Shingi Mpofu, currently turning out for parent club Harare Sports Club during the European season beak. 

“I looked at the options we have. We believe Jacques Leitao and Andrew Rose can fill those slots,” he said.

The availability of Germany-based livewire wing Manasah Sita is also uncertain, and Dawson admitted yesterday that Mbare Academy graduate had also been overlooked for selection. 

“Well, I’m not quite sure what’s the story with Sita is, but Sita is a wing. We have four capable wings in the squad. We feel they are good enough to do the job.”

The Sables squad includes just one recognised centre in captain Daniel Hondo, and Dawson concedes his team faces a crisis there, especially at number 13.

“We have a crisis of outside centres in the country. (UK-based) Sean Moan hasn’t showed interest in playing for Zimbabwe this year so we have left him out. (Former youth international) Gareth Meikle is injured, Chieza is injured. Garth Ziegler also injured his wrist and I don’t think he will play rugby again. We are still looking around and hoping to fill that position before we go into camp.

“You see, the problem is that this squad is the best we can pick at the moment. We have a lot of injuries and we can’t control that.”

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