Mutamangira calls for unity

HARARE - After another disastrous Rugby Afrique Gold Cup campaign, Sables captain Denford Mutamangira says blaming coach Cyprian Mandenge will not end the team’s deeply-rooted problems.

At the same time, the Sports and Recreation Commission last night dissolved the entire Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU)board led by Nyarirai Sibanda due to the team's poor performance.

The Sables continued to be the whipping boys in Africa’s top tier competition following four loses in five games with their only win coming against minnows Senegal.

Despite the poor form, the Sables narrowly retained their Gold Cup status for next year and Mutamangira believes Mandenge needs all the support he can get.

“To be quite honest I think the preparations are letting us down all the time and we must admit first that we are miles behind other countries and need to improve if we are to be recognised as a rugby-playing nation,” the Sables prop said.

“We may have our moments but that is still not good enough to make us competitive. The other teams such as Kenya and Uganda have modelled their leagues in line with their international competitions.

“Their national leagues now run from November to May which ensures that they will be as competitive when the Gold Cup begins while on our part we do not have a league to talk about and if anything only Old Georgians have completed their first round of matches.

“The Ugandan coach told us that they got into camp three months prior to the competition while we only had a week and half together but still others were not available.”

The Harare Sports Club loose head prop, who played almost half of the Gold Cup campaign carrying a collar-bone injury, said the ZRU needs to invest in strength and conditioning.

“Skills level we are up there but we are very behind in conditioning. We played well against Senegal and Namibia then the conditioning aspect started crippling in,” Mutamangira said.

“Look at the size of our opponents; we looked like David against those Goliaths. It is very critical that this area is looked at for next year’s campaign and it has to begin now or at least we can start a bit earlier and it is not about giving excuses.

“Most importantly is that people have to learn to work together for a common goal and it’s so disheartening to find out that all the love for the Sables is only demonstrate when it’s a World Cup cycle.

“We let the game die all the time only to resurrect it when it’s a WC year. If we can keep the guys who are there and a few new guys I think we can get some way as a nation.

“The administration hasn’t made it any easier for the game too. There’s too much politicking going on at the top and all this must stop if we are to give rugby a chance.”

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