ZRU defends Mandenge sacking

HARARE - Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Nyararai Sibanda has defended the recent decision to sack Sables coach Cyprian Mandenge (pictured).

Although Mandenge and Sables team manager Sebastian Garikai tendered in their resignations last week — in essence they were sacked. 

Mandenge and Garikai decided to walk away from the national team after a heated meeting with ZRU top brass following Zimbabwe’s dismal 2016 Africa Cup Group 1A campaign.

The Sables were relegated to the Africa Cup Group 1B next year following defeats to Kenya, Uganda and Namibia during a campaign that was rocked by player withdrawals and a lack of preparations.

“We are having an exodus because of discomfort in accountability. We lost highly-qualified, highly-trained and experienced personal because they had no results,” Sibanda said at a press conference in Bulawayo yesterday.

“We didn’t fire everyone like claims from some quarters. Some resigned after the reality checks and evaluations.

“Actually, we don’t want to lose anyone. We just looked at people’s strengths and assigned accordingly. We are looking forward to working well with media, sponsors, partners, players supporters and everyone involved in rugby for the rugby to grow.”

Sibanda’s sentiments were echoed by his deputy Tapiwa Mangezi who spoke more on accountability.

“We inherited a lot of bad habits. There was no accountability, no reality checks whatsoever. This is what we want to change,” he said.

“We are looking for a director of rugby who is going to be accountable and judged by results. We have flighted an advert and so far we have received four foreign applications. Some are from South Africa and one from New Zealand,” said Mangezi.

ZRU were also left in debt after hosting the Word Rugby Under-20 Trophy tournament earlier this year.

However, they are always getting a shot in the arm from Old Mutual for their development. The investment giant has availed an excess $150 000 for the sport’s development.

Also speaking at the same press conference, Zimbabwe Olympic Committee president Admire Masenda said: “Good corporate governance is needed. Good structures and correct structures are needed to develop sport. You find that national level structures are okay but under that you find it’s shaky or there is nothing. But that is where the national structure must nurture and harness from.”

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