Mutangamira is new Sables skipper

HARARE - Prop Denford Mutamangira has been handed the Sables captaincy for the Car Africa Cup opener against Kenya this Saturday and wants unity to prevail in camp if the team is to conquer.

The former Scotland-based front rower takes over from Daniel Hondo, who retired after Zimbabwe’s failed 2015 World Cup campaign.

“A little surprised to be made captain (because) there a so many senior players in the team,” Mutamangira told the Daily News yesterday.

The Harare Sports Club prop has been one of the dominant players for the Sables but has equally had a love-hate relationship with the Zimbabwe Rugby Union for standing up to his beliefs.

Last year, he refused to travel to Siberia for the country’s 2015 World Cup qualifier play-off against Russia citing personal reasons.

But with the responsibility of captaining Zimbabwe thrust upon his broad shoulders he feels unity of purpose should hold the team together.

“I think the key thing is unity, to be together. When we play as a team the way we train, the way we bond as players is important for the team going forward,” he said.

“I think we have guys in the team who have been performing well.”

Kenya have perennially struggled against Zimbabwe but Mutamangira feels the Sables will pay the ultimate penalty if they underrate the East Africans.

The last time the two team’s sides met the Sables won 28-10 in a 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifier with Mutamangira playing a blinder at rucks and mauls.

However, coming into Saturday’s encounter to be staged at Prince Edward School, Kenya will be upbeat after a high-profile match against Portugal while the Sables have settled for a week-long training camp.

“I think we have a good chance of beating Kenya. We have always beaten them but they are actually improving,” said the new Sables captain.

“Their setup is now more professional than ours. So I wouldn’t want to have that arrogance of saying we have always beaten Kenya.

“I think we just need to work hard and adapt to the new structure which the new coach wants us to play. Unfortunately we have a week left. We just have to win.”

Sables provisional squad:

Forwards: Denford Mutamangira, Tatenda Murwira, Farai Mudariki, Pieter Joubert, Lawrence Clemenson, Royal Mwale, Kudzai Muzorewa, Jan Ferreira, Martin Wolfenden, Sanele Sibanda, Biselele Tshamala, Tadiwa Parirenyatwa, Andrew Rose, Fortune Chipendu, Kingsley Lang, Shingai Mpofu, David Makamba

Backs: Charles Jiji, Taddy Whata, Tichafara Makwanya, Lenience Tambwera, Boyd Rouse, Riaan O’Neil, Stephan Hunduza, Gardner Nechironga, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Tangai Nemadire, Lungile Tshuma, Malvern Maparura, Cleopas Makotose, Daniel Capsopolous, Kuda Chiwanza, Mclean Muhambi, Andrea Banda, Kilvan Magunje

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