I'm not the saviour - Chivandire

HARARE - Bright Chivandire is under no illusion at the huge task on his hands to drive the development of the local game when he begins his new role as the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) Technical Director next month.

The former Zimbabwe national team manager and coach begins his new role on November 1 and takes over from Liam Middleton, who was last month appointed the Canada Sevens head coach.

The well-respected Chivandire, who made his name as a lock for Old Hararians Sports Club and the Sables, is delighted with his new appointment.

“I’m excited and I’m happy with the new challenge. I’m obviously a bit nervous, a bit anxious with everything but this is a challenge I’m looking forward to,” the 45-year-old told the Daily News yesterday.

“I’m a rugby man and I love the sport. This is the sort of thing I wanted to do for a long time. My reaction was obvious of great excitement because I love rugby and I love to spend my time doing this and I hope to be able impart a bit of what I have learned over a bit of time to everyone else.”

Chivandire, who coached the Sables in the mid 2000s and also took the national Under-20 side to three Junior World Rugby Trophies in 2010, 2011 and 2012, says he is not the ‘saviour’ of local rugby but needs the support from all interested stakeholders.

“This game has been alive. As you appreciate a few months ago in Madagascar and Russia we came so close to qualifying for the World Cup,” he said.

“That goes to show that rugby has been alive and has been doing well. I’m not coming in as a saviour so to speak. I’m just coming in to add value to the union. I’m happy to be called Director of Rugby but it’s not a one man job.

“It is a job that involves all the stakeholders and my job really is to work with everyone to make sure that the game in itself reaches the heights it set to achieve.

“The individual stakeholders in the system achieve their personal goals and teams achieve what they have been set out to achieve.”

The former Prince Edward School rugby coach’s immediate task when he assumes office will be laying down development structures that ensure Zimbabwe qualify for the 2019 IRB Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“I think I need together with the other stakeholders to work a lot with the junior structures. The players that are playing Under-18, 19 and 20 now are obviously the players we are looking at taking us to the qualifiers come 2018 for the 2019 World Cup,” he said.

“It’s going to be important that we direct a lot of resources and a bit of energies in that direction. When that works for us it is going to obviously cascade to the national team.”

In the past, many talented young Zimbabwean rugby players have switched allegiance opting to play internationally for other countries.

Chivandire is not worried about this talent drain and feels the ZRU has put in place measures to harness the best from those players staying behind.

“Apparently there is a lot of work happening behind the scenes with the union staff, administrators, Colleen (De Jong) and John (Falkenberg); they have put together measures to ensure that area is covered,” he said.

“We are very aware there is no bridge between our Under-20s and the Sable side. There have been a lot of programs the union has been working on and in due course these programs will be made public and everyone will be excited.

“I’m not worried about that. I will not lose sleep over that. There is just so much talent. Go and watch a schoolboy game between Churchill and St John’s or Gifford playing Milton; there is a lot of talent.

“To cry over two players that go away to play for other nations is unfair. I just believe what we need to do is that of the lot that stay and those interested in playing for Zimbabwe, what is that the union can do for them?

“To keep them interested and to help enhance the value in them and ensure that they get the best coaching. So I don’t lose sleep over the two, three players that want to play for the Springboks or Australia.”

Since the role of Director of Rugby was established at ZRU, there have been a lot of issues surrounding the jurisdiction this person has when it comes to selecting players and drafting training programs for the various national teams including the Sables.

“My job description is very clear and I know exactly what I’m going to be responsible for. As the Technical Director, I know what my deliverables are, so I’m not going to say to you this I won’t do or this I will do,” said Chivandire.

“But you will see the things I will do and where I will interfere, not quiet interfere but intervene. For me rugby has been working so well and I’m just excited that the game is alive and our national teams have done so well.

“I’m here but a lot of the success in Zimbabwe rugby is not going to be about me. These guys have been doing a lot of work way before I came in and even before John was elected president.

“That work must just continue. For me it’s and about the guys that have been working to work harder and double their efforts to ensure that this game stays alive and we perform better at international level which is what this game is about.

“It’s not about me or the president of the union. It’s about all the stakeholders”

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