Sables off to Hong Kong

HARARE - The Sables left Harare yesterday for the Hong Kong Cup invitational tournament after paying a courtesy call to their newly-found benefactor Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya.

Zimbabwe’s XVs rugby contingent comprising local and South Africa-based players were provided with allowances to use while in Hong Kong by the PHD leader.

Europe-based players Michael Passaportis, Lungile Tshuma, Andrew Rose and Tafadzwa Chitokwindo will join the rest of the squad in Hong Kong.

The Sables’ relationship with Magaya, who has in the past helped the football national teams financially, began when Cyprian Mandenge side’s attended a PHD service last Wednesday.

Magaya hosted the Sables for lunch the following day where he provided fuel for the players to use while in camp. On Sunday, the Sables were also guests at the popular preacher’s birthday celebrations at his base in Waterfalls.

“The players have never been this happy, they have thrown their bodies on the line for no rewards in a long time and to find a partner in the prophet who has just given them some incentives is just amazing,” Mandenge told the Daily News before the team’s departure for Hong Kong yesterday afternoon.

“We have trained well so far; a few guys were carrying niggles but that has been sorted because it wasn’t anything major. At least it’s different (preparations) from the last time we went to Hong Kong last year.

“We didn’t even train, I left Harare with four guys and I met the rest in South Africa and some of them in Hong Kong. “Now we started training last week and trained everyday with the local guys and were joined by the South African guys in camp on Sunday. So we have been together since Sunday and the overseas guys will meet them in Hong Kong due to financial reasons.”

Mandenge reiterated that the Hong Kong campaign is all about getting more game time to prepare for the Africa Cup.

“Obviously, there are a lot of new guys coming in, lots of youngsters so yes we are happy to be going to Hong Kong but our target is just to do well in Africa so we are preparing the team for the Africa Cup,” he said.

“As you can see the team is made up of youngsters now, the only seniors we have are maybe Denford (Mutamangira ) and Tichafara Makwanya the rest of the guys are young even if you can talk of people like Njabulo (Ndlovu) and (Biselele ) Tshamala — they are young guys who still have years in them even Makwanya.

“So this is a squad that can actually take us to the World Cup of course they are some other guys who were called into camp but they didn’t come, the local guys, for reasons better known to themselves.

“We have got an open door policy where everyone who wants to try for the national team can come but I also must accept that they are people who will not want to work under certain people which could be the reason why some of the guys didn’t come.”

Old Georgians duo Kingsley Lang and Jacque Leitao asked to be excused due to work commitments.

Sables squad: Denford Mutamangira, Brian Makamure, Cleminson Lawrence, Irvine Nduwa, Michael Passiportis, Witness Mandizha, Tapfuma Parirenyatwa, Lucky Sithole, Osborne Muhambi, Njabulo Ndlovu, Connor Pritchard, Andrew Rose, Biselele Tshamala,  Simba Mandioma, Tolerance Zishe, Kuziwakwashe Kazembe, Josh Gando, Tichafara Makwanya, Lenience Tambwera, Stephan Hunduza, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Teddy Hwata, Riaan O'Neal, Kudzai Mashawi, Gavin Nyawata, Brad Ellse,  Lungile Tshuma.

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