Lang blow for Sables

HARARE - Zimbabwe national rugby team’s hopes of being crowned 2015 African Champions received another blow after loose forward Kingsley Lang tore his quad muscle during Wednesday’s training session.

The England-based forward is now in a race against time to be fit for tomorrow’s Africa Cup A1 clash against Namibia.

Lang’s injury has further fuelled a growing fire after players were told yesterday that they will not receive allowances for tomorrow’s Africa Cup A1 clash owing to Zimbabwe Rugby Union’s empty coffers.

Besides having had little time to prepare for this encounter, players have been travelling from their homes to training with ZRU unable to book the team into a hotel.

But amidst the gloom, Sables coach Cyprian Mandenge has not stopped believing that his side can weather the storm and stun World Cup-bound Welwitschias in their own backyard.

The two sides are level at the top of the standings with two victories each, and the winner of this match will be crowned the 2015 African Champions.

“Everything is against us,” admitted Mandenge yesterday.

“Some of the guys could not be released by their clubs because we are playing outside calendar of international events. It’s not the ideal conditions, even us travelling tomorrow (today) and playing on Saturday, it’s not ideal.

“It will be tricky; it takes character, it will take that hardened attitude. We didn’t get time to work. But the boys have sacrificed a lot.”

The two countries have met 26 times in the test arena with Namibia winning 23 and Zimbabwe three of the matches.

The last time the two teams met was in July last year at the World Cup Qualification Tournament in Madagascar when Namibia recorded a narrow 24-20 win.

“I am not worried about history, it’s doable,” Mandenge said.

“We have a bunch of great guys in camp. The morale is high even though we have challenges here and there. The boys know what is at stake.”

On Lang’s injury, Mandenge said: “His injury is still being assessed and we will only know later if he will be available for the match.”

Namibia are currently riding high following their emphatic 46-13 win over Kenya in an Africa Cup match at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek last weekend.

That win moved Namibia into top 20 World Rugby rankings.

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