Makotose's burning desire

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe rugby captain Cleopas Makotose has spoken of his delight at earning his IRB (world rugby’s governing body was renamed World Rugby on Tuesday) level two coaching badge.

Makotose — who amassed over 50 test caps for his country since making his Sables debut against Uganda as a 19-year-old back in 2003 — captained in about 10 of those and was part of the side that won two Africa Cups and the 2011 Victoria Cup — forming a formidable centre pairing with current skipper Daniel Hondo.

After losing his place in the side, Makotose, now 30, set his sights on a career in coaching and recently enrolled for the level two course conducted by ex-Zimbabwe coaches Brighton Chivandire and Godwin “Jaws” Murambiwa.

“It really feels good to be a level two coach,” Makotose, who was introduced to international rugby at fullback, told the Daily News yesterday.

“It was always something that I was planning towards in my career after my playing days.

“I have learnt a lot from my playing days and now that I have my coaching shoes on, it’s time to pass the knowledge to other players about what I’ve learnt and hope they can put it to use.”

Born in Bulawayo but originally from Masvingo and raised in Chiredzi, Plumtree-educated Makotose spoke of his desire to help with the game’s revival in these areas.

“My main aim is to develop and work with schools and clubs that need my assistance. Bulawayo, Masvingo and Triangle are places I really would love to put a lot of my focus on because that’s where I was born and raised and there isn’t much rugby going on there.

“But saying that, I will keep my options open and see what comes my way.”

Having gone through his coaching course successfully, Makotose has called on the Zimbabwe Rugby Union to organise more coaching clinics.

“The IRB level two course is very educational and eye-opening.

“A lot of research and game knowledge is needed and it comes with a great amount of responsibility. A lot of clinics are needed, like when (former All Blacks coach) John Mitchell and crew were brought here by Kyros Rugby earlier this year.

“Such clinics will help us as coaches and the Zimbabwean rugby family to learn more and appreciate the game better. It’s up to us as a nation to work hard and reach our goals as one.”

Easy-going off the field, Makotose showed his fiery streak on it — a tough competitor who hated losing, and a patriot, too, who put his body on the line for his country each time he ran out for another test cap.

“It’s been an honour playing for my country since 2003,” he said.

“For me, it’s been an honour.

“That Sables jersey, just wearing it, has brought pride to me and my family. And captaining the Sables as well, is one of the biggest highlights of my career.”

Zimbabwean rugby is again back to the drawing board after narrowly failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup in England.

Although Makotose was not part of the Sables squad under Brendan Dawson that suffered the heartbreak of failure in Madagascar in July, he also felt the pain, but said:

“There is always a future, just depends how you want to look at it. This is one of the reasons I’m excited about coaching.”

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