'Old boy culture killing rugby'

HARARE - When the West Indies won the 2016 ICC World T20 trophy it was against the odds; a master-class show by Carlos Brathwaite in the final over against England.

A display of desire, skill and enormous self-belief. What that didn’t show is a team let down by its West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), written off by the media and hurled insults on the occasion.

A side that left the Caribbean without a training or playing kit for the finals. The whole situation was a mess.

This is a story of how sports teams can be so much more than the issues in their country or their organisation.

The West Indies, should serve as inspiration to other talented sides who can excel without the resources other teams have.

A team can succeed against the odds when they have the right men in the right areas.

Local rugby has shown that it has got the talent not only at junior level but at senior level as well.

The Sevens brand in Zimbabwe remains a priority. It is the pride of the country’s rugby fraternity.

The Cheetahs, however, continue to regress on the Sevens circuit and just seem to battle when it comes to sealing games and having a creative edge.

New comers, Germany, managed to give the more experienced Zimbabwean side a full run for their money and got a draw at the Hong Kong Sevens earlier this month.

The Cheetahs loss to Japan was another highlight of the lack of variety displayed by the side and a lack of fight.

With the installation of an ex-Cheetahs player Danny Hondo as coach it may have kept the squad’s culture intact considering the new breed of youngsters but it was the wrong appointment.

Grant Mitchell remains the most successful Cheetahs coach in Zimbabwe and should have the head coach role.

He has been there as a coach and should have been the man to mould the tenure of Hondo.

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (Zru) should do whatever it takes to get hold of the man. You see, it is time we as Zimbabwe stop playing the victim.

So if the economic situation never improves we will forever mourn and cry over having nothing?

A talent haven. Several of our stars get educated in Zimbabwe and go abroad and become stars on the International stage playing for other nations.

We just have to find a way to make it work instead of playing the victim. Systems, structures and coach development pathways do not require funds.

Whatever little we have can be used to develop the game instead of blaming the lack of funds. On the matter of funds, you need to earn the right to more funds and sponsorships.

In rugby, a team earns the right to go wide. Be accountable with little and you will get more. Zru is an organisation that has never divulged their financial documents at any of the AGMs.

Consistency, have a hierarchy when it involves your coaches and teams. Develop coaches that will be ear marked to take over the next team.

We can’t be spinning around in a circle with the same coaches that have failed. Rid the old boys club and get coaches who bring change.

Don’t segregate schools, regions or people. Building Zimbabwe needs all hands on deck.

Add a Craven Week side, Zimbabwe Academy side for the Academy Week meaning there are two under 18 sides.

Two Sevens, sides to develop that aspect of the game. These invites, will require the Union to ask Saru for one. This then requires Zimbabwe to get Old Mutual involved in this project.

The move to install Graham Kaulback was a great start, however the loss of experienced and probably Zimbabwe’s best rugby mind in Bryan Rademeyer was a miss.

Zimbabwe needs to allow coaches to develop and come up the ranks without having them pop from nowhere. Progression and transparency.

We look at the Sables, they lost three games on the trot in finals, in the dying minutes. That was not a lack of funds was it?

Mere technical and game management issues that would work with well-skilled coaches in the country.

A fish rots from the top, credit to Zru for managing to organise the World Rugby U20 Trophy Cup and bringing it to Harare but they must take accountability for most of the Union’s failings.

Their lack of embracing the open market and using the same coaches over and over again will be of no benefit to the nation.

Doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results is stupidity. It’s time we caught a catch up call and wake up.

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