Sevens championship explodes at PE

HARARE - Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens chairman Donald Mangenje says the country is more than capable of hosting a successful Confederations of African Rugby (Car) Sevens Africa Cup this weekend.

“I can say we are ready for the tournament,” Mangenje told the Daily News yesterday at Prince Edward, the tournament venue.

“Everybody who needed a visa to get to Zimbabwe is here. Anybody who needed an Ebola clearance is here. It’s been a hustle, but all the 12 teams are safely in Harare. So we can say we have a tournament.”

The 12-team Africa Cup is being used as qualifier for the Hong Kong leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series.

The best paced team outside South Africa and Kenya will book their ticket to the South East Asian country, where they will battle for core status.

Zimbabwe are hoping for a good outing in this event, a rare home international tournament for the country.

Simply put, Zimbabwe need to come out tops above Zambia, Madagascar, Uganda, Botswana, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Nigeria and Senegal to secure their passage to the Hong Kong Sevens.

However, with only a five-day camp, Zimbabwe has not had the best of preparations.

Their cause has not been helped by the injury of playmaker Lenience Tambwera while explosive Lions loose forward Lambert Groenewald failed to join camp owing to contractual issues in Johannesburg.

Seasoned gas-man Manasah Sita, who has been on song in Germany, also failed to join the team due to “club versus country clashes,” Magenje said.

“Lambert is still within our plans for the future,” Mangenje said. “He should be a quality edition. For this tournament it was a bit difficult because he is a contracted player. Resources permitting, we would have had him but with our kind of resources, without a sponsor to run this tournament, it was difficult.

“Once a player is contracted you have to make sure that his medical insurance is in place. You have to make sure that you have an avenue for him to recover his earnings, those kinds of things.

“But baring injuries and reasons beyond us I can say we have our best team.”

Meanwhile, Kenya captain Davies Chenge was upbeat over his team’s chances:

The Kenyan Sevens team is currently preparing for the Dubai Sevens on the World Sevens Series and the Kenya Shujaa, a second-string side, is representing the East African country.

He said: “We are missing some guys, but apart from them, we have some exciting players.”

Zimbabwe: Jacques Leitao (cpt), Fortune Chipendu, Gardner Nechironga, Stephan Hunduza, Njabulo Ndlovu, Boyd Rouse, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Graham Kaulback, Riaan O'Neill, Shayne Makombe, Wes Mbanje, Kilvan Magunje.

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