Hondo award stirs debate

HARARE - The Villain of the Year award given to Zimbabwe rugby captain Daniel Hondo in this newspaper’s end-of-year sports awards has triggered much debate over whether the skipper deserved the unwanted accolade.

Winning 28-10 against Kenya in a crucial World Cup qualification match in Madagascar last year, the Sables just needed a fourth try to secure a bonus point and qualify for their first William Webb Ellis Trophy in 22 years.

Zimbabwe were awarded a penalty in the 22, and despite a teammate calling for the corner, skipper Hondo chose the posts option when calling for a scrum or kick for a lineout would have produced the all-important try.  

Hondo’s Harare Sports Club teammate, Kudakwashe Chisepo, a regular rugby blogger, yesterday jumped to the 32-year-old skipper’s defence on Facebook forum Let’s Talk Rugby-Zimbabwe.

“The article by the Daily News which said Villain of the Year: Daniel Hondo is a bit unfair! The entire team are villains especially the senior players who knew what was needed but didn’t have the balls to go for a try! Happy new year folks!,” wrote Chisepo.

And when Daily News rugby correspondent Brian Matamba tried to draw Chisepo’s attention to an extract in the feature which also linked technical director Liam Middleton to the costly decision, Chisepo retorted:

“Was a bit unfair to single him out on the head “Villain of the Year: Daniel Hondo”! His name alone? Nah, Sables yes, not Daniel Hondo.”

To which Matamba responded: “Afanonirwa kuramba (he must refuse) kicking tee period oti (and say) boys tirikuenda (we are going) mu corner... when ref awards penalty haataure ne (he doesn’t talk to the) bench or ma senior players he ask team’s captain kuti what option are you taking.”

But Chisepo was having none of it, going on to blame Hondo’s fellow senior players for failing to advise him correctly. 

“What was the other senior players saying? What was the vice-captain saying? The team bottled it, the entire team should take stick for that! Denford (Mutamangira) was there as a senior player kuma (in the) forwards, he also should’ve contributed!

“What I am saying is that other senior players let Danny down! Fortune (Chipendo), Jacques Leitao Denford Mutamangira should’ve contributed! Liam Middleton off course killed it for us!”

Taps Mufunde also wadded into the argument, accusing us of being “heartless” in labelling Hondo a villain.

“From my knowledge and playing rugby, we are like a band, one band one sound. This then means that we win as a team and we lose as a team and by singling out Danny to be a villain is just as heartless. Ok ko dai akaita (what if he made) the right decision to go for try then we go to the World Cup, was this myopic and short-sighted reporter going to say Hero of the Year Danny? Obviously he would say the Sables. Zvimwe zvinongoda kutendwa so (we must be thankful sometimes). Yes we didn’t qualify but let our journalism be mature enough to be fair. It was a team loss, period!”

Vusimuzi Ndebebele responded to Mufunde, saying:

“If you are a true rugby player you should know that rugby is just like life, where you make some decisions good or bad and sometimes you have to take some chances but you never look back. That chapter is long gone, waiting for the next one with its chances and decisions.”


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