Cyprian Mandenge safe for now

HARARE - Zimbabwe rugby coach Cyprian Mandenge is likely to be given the long rope despite presiding over the Sables’ disastrous Africa Gold Cup campaign which could get worse with one match remaining.

Mandenge has had an unconvincing tenure since assuming the reigns from Brendan Dawson, only managing one win in eight matches since being appointed head coach in the last years leaving the Sables on the brink of elimination from the Africa Gold Cup.

In part, some of the players Mandenge has reached out to have turned down the Sables call-up while the players who have been available, have not always given the Sables coach their best.

Zimbabwe now travels to Uganda this week needing to win to maintain their place in the Group and be able to mount a strong challenge for the 2019 World Cup qualification.

Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Nyararai Sibanda admits he is ashamed of the Sables’ Africa Gold Cup poor performances but says the union will not make any rushed decision regarding Mandenge.

“As Sables we owe the nation and ourselves a better outcome than we have delivered,” Sibanda told the Daily News.

A technical committee to review Saturday’s match met yesterday morning and were expected to share their review with the Sables technical team.

The review will be submitted to the ZRU on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe’s poor performances have seen some sections calling for the return for Liam Middleton to assist the team in some capacity.

The former Canada coach is rated among the best rugby coaches to emerge from Zimbabwe and has a wealth of experience presiding over professional teams. ZRU president Sibanda, however, insisted that he was not privy to Middleton’s availability.

Grant Mitchell and Bright Chivandire have also been touted as possible replacements for Mandenge.

Meanwhile, speculation has been rife over three Tunisian players who were said to have been refused entry by Zimbabwe immigration officials on arrival at the Harare International Airport.

It was further alleged that Tunisia went on to play without a full complement of substitutes on Saturday.

Sibanda admitted there was a hiccup that saw Tunisian players being held up at the airport for longer than usual but assured that no player was sent back.

“There were no Tunisian players sent back. The visas had not uploaded online where the application had been made and balance of issuing procedures had to be completed manually and that took a bit of time at the airport but thanks to our immigration officials who expedited (the process),” said Sibanda.

At the same time, ZRU also hit another glitch when Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) seized rugby match balls on the eve of Saturdays encounter from a Rugby Africa match official.

“The regulator was within its mandate and rightfully exercised it,” said Sibanda.

“We had not been informed that they would be couriered that way and so there was no correspondence from the donor and our letter of acceptance as fit for purpose to Zimra. This will be regularised by the union secretariat.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.