Cheetahs eye African glory

HARARE - The Cheetahs leave for Kenya today with only one thing on their minds — winning the Africa Cup Sevens title as they seek to make amends for last year’s final defeat at the hands of the hosts.

Zimbabwe finished as runners-up in last year’s tournament and kick-start their campaign with a date against the Cranes of Uganda on Friday morning before winding down their Pool B elimination round against Mauritius.

Defending champions Kenya have been seeded first in Pool A where they will play Nigeria and Senegal while Pool C comprises Morocco, Zambia and Madagascar. Pool D is made up of Tunisia, Namibia and Botswana.

Cheetahs’ coach Daniel Hondo said the team has been in camp for four days but believes they can negotiate their way towards their intended goal.

“We had our training sessions for only four days but like always we can only do what we can under the circumstances and today (yesterday) is rest day then we fly out tomorrow (today) before our first match on Friday,” Hondo told the Daily News.

“It was sad losing last year’s final; the guys are motivated to do well and win the Cup this time around and I believe we have a squad that is capable but the tricky part is to play the best rugby on the day.”

The men’s Africa Cup Sevens comes hard on the heels of the women’s tournament hosted by Zimbabwe last weekend.

South Africa won the tournament after edging the Lionesses of Kenya 22-17 in the final while the Zimbabwe’s Lady Cheetahs settled for bronze with a 24-10 demolition of the Lady Cranes of Uganda in the third place play-off.

In Kenya, the Cheetahs will be captained by France-based prop Hilton Mudariki and includes seasoned campaigners such as Stephan Hunduza, and Biselele Tshamala among others.

Cheetahs Squad: Hilton Mudariki (capt), Stephan Hunduza, Shayne Makombe, Kilvan Magunje, Tafadzwa Mhende, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Takudzwa Nemadire, Tendai Dzongodza, Biselele Tshamala, Riaan O’Neil.

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