Injuries hamper Lady Cheetahs

HARARE - Zimbabwe have been hit by injuries ahead of the two-today Rugby Afrique Women’s Sevens Championship that gets underway at the Police Grounds in Harare this morning.

Seven other countries join  hosts Zimbabwe in the two-day Sevens Rugby tournament and these are South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar, Uganda, Tunisia and Senegal.

The Lady Cheetahs begin their campaign this morning with a clash against South Africa at 11am then against Namibia at 1pm.

The hosts round up their pool programme with a date against Senegal at 3:30pm.   

Having already named a squad for the tournament, Lady Cheetahs coach Abigail Kawonza will have to make do with injuries to five key players.

Hooker Precious Marange, who also plays for the national cricket team, is struggling with an ankle injury.

Prop and winger Ruvimbo Musere, Flue Nyoni (scrumhalf), Hilda Marange (flyhalf and kicker) and Caroline Malenga (prop and centre) are all expected to take to the field in the discomfort of their injuries.

“We have a lot of injuries, they won’t be any late fitness tests because the team has already been picked for the tournament so we expect the girls to show a bit of bravery because they are not 100 percent fit,” Kawonza told the Daily News yesterday.

“It’s a big challenge (the injuries) because we will be playing three games on the first day (today) but we still expect even the last woman picked to represent the nation to do so with pride and bravery.

“We are playing for a better African ranking, currently we are ranked fourth in Africa and we hope to go up the ladder at the conclusion of these girls.”

With most players in the squad coming from schools teams, Kawonza is looking to the home supporters to come out in their large numbers and get behind the Lady Cheetahs.

“We call upon local fans to come and support the girls as well as the schools because a good number of players are youngsters who have been drawn from different schools so they should come and watch their products in action,” Kawonza added.

In June, the Lady Cheetahs took part in the Rio Olympics Repechage Games in Dublin, Ireland where they finished in 14th place and that exposure is also set to help the team in these African campaign games.

“The reason we went to Ireland was to gain exposure because we had never played at that level which was a great experience,” she said.

Lady Cheetahs squad: 1. Charity “Chokey” Mucucuti, 2. Precious “PP” Marange, 3. Peace Sithole, 4. Carol Malenga, 5. Rumbi “Pokello” Cigumba, 6. Constance “Kadiki” Ngwende, 7. Sicelumusa Nyoni, 8. Ruvimbo Musere, 9. Margaret Magwaro, 10. Hilda Marange, 11. Simbi Kadye, 12. Delight Mukomondo.

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