It's going to be tough: Mandenge

HARARE - Zimbabwe rugby XVs coach Cyprian Mandenge is well aware of the tough challenge facing his side in Saturday’s Africa Cup A1 clash against Namibia.

The Sables have had little time to prepare for this encounter against the 2015 Rugby World Cup-bound Welwitschias.

Players are travelling from their homes everyday leaving Mandenge with limited time with his squad since the Zimbabwe Rugby Union does not have funds to book the team in a hotel.

After having already beaten Kenya and Tunisia on home soil, the Sables are in a good spot to win the Africa Cup but the preparations for Saturday’s encounter are threatening to derail their charge.

“We can only work with the players and conditions that we have been exposed. I don’t doubt the ability and talent the players we have in camp possess, their determination has been excellent given the circumstances,” Mandenge told the Daily News yesterday.

“It’s gonna be a big mountain to climb if we are going to dispatch the Namibians in their own backyard. They are motivated by the fact that this is their last match before they leave for the Rugby World Cup.

“On our part we are also motivated by the struggles that we have gone through in order to make this dream a reality so the players need no further motivation other than this.”

A host of regular Sables players, most of whom are semi-professionals, have opted out of the trip to Namibia owing to work and club commitments.

The list comprises Jacques Leitao, Njabulo Ndlovu, Farai Mudariki, Norman Mukondiwa, Nico Nyemba and Kevin Ncini.

In comes Brian Makamure, Lucky Sithole, Kingsley Lang, Riaan Oniell, Gerald Sibanda and debutants, Tatenda Karuru and Kyle de Beer.

The Sables are scheduled to leave for Namibia tomorrow with the match against the Welwitschias set to take place at the Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium in Windhoek.

Sables Starting XV: 15. Tangai Nemadire, 14. Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, 13. Cleopas Makotose, 12. Rian O’Neill, 11. Steven Hunduza, 10.Tichafara Makwanya (vice capt), 9. Charles Jiji, 8. Kingsley Lang, 7. Lucky Sithole, 6. Andrew Rose, 5. Biselele Tshamala, 4. Fortune Chipendu, 3. Brian Makamure, 2. Royal Mwale, 1. Denford Mutamangira (capt)

Replacements: 16. Tatenda Karuru, 17. Tatenda Murwira, 18. Sanele Sibanda, 19. Kyle de Beer, 20. Hilton Mudariki, 21. Lenience Tambwera, 22. Gerald Sibanda

Coach: Cyprian Mandenge, Assistant coach: Nsikelelo Sibanda, Team Manager: Sebastain Garikai

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