Makombe relishes France move

HARARE - Zambezi Cheetahs backline player Shayne Makombe hopes to one day break into the lucrative Pro 14 rugby league after signing for French Federale 3 side Rugby Club Compiegnois (RCC).

Makombe is scheduled to leave for France later this week to join up with his new teammates as they prepare for the new season which starts next month.

“I think it’s a good opportunity in terms of my rugby career. I’m not going into the top tier in France but I think it’s a stepping stone for me to work my way up and make a name for myself,” Makombe told the Daily News on Sunday.

“I’m really excited and I have waited a long time for this opportunity. It feels rewarding to get to this stage of my career and it obviously took a lot of patience and hard work to be where I’m at the moment.

“I spoke to the owners of the club and I was quiet happy with what they were telling me; their goals for the club, what they wanted to achieve and what they thought I could add to the team.”

For the past four years, the former Churchill Bulldogs captain was in South Africa where he was studying Human Resources at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN).

Although he was able to secure employment after finishing his studies, rugby was always the main calling for the 25-year-old.

“I think my time in South Africa was really good in terms of my growth as an individual and it impacted my appreciation of rugby,” he said.

“I see it in the way I have become patient, I now understand the game better and the way I put more emphasis on my diet, training methods and so on.

“I think all the time I spent in South Africa is going to directly benefit me when I get to France because I now know how to handle myself professionally with the team and outside in terms of my attitude; the way I carry myself.

“To be honest there are a lot of endless opportunities for me and It will all go down on whether I will be able to maximise on them.

“I want to push myself to go high as I can get among their many professional leagues. Whichever league I end up playing, I just want to go high as possible.”

Makombe added: “That is the reason why I left my job to pursue a career in rugby.

“When I finally retire from playing, I want to look back and say I played to the maximum and I tried the best I could.

“I want to go to the highest level of rugby and in France the obvious goal will be to play for a Pro 14 club; that would be the cherry on top.”

The game in the northern hemisphere is very different from the game that is played down here but Makombe is confident he will adjust to the demands of Fedarale 3.

“I know of only Farai Mudariki and Tapiwa Tsomondo is also going there. Not so many Zimbabwean players in France but I think it’s also really good that I’m now going there; we could open doors for more local guys,” he said.

“There are, however, a lot of challenges that I have to overcome of which language is a big barrier but I studied French when I was at university and a little bit at school.

“I would imagine the language is going to be a challenge the weather as well and the idea of leaving everything I know behind to start a new life in France.

“France unlike most countries in Europe is slightly drier but it is really cold. Obviously the game is slower than what we are used here. For me I see it as an advantage because I get to bring speed into my team and give them a different dimension.

“I’m not really planning on changing my style of play but I’m going to work hard to try and export what I do best to make it an addition to the team’s dynamic.

“I’ve also been doing a bit of kicking and in terms of my training I just focused on getting conditioned to make sure that I have good strength to adopt.”

2017 is a big year for the Zambezi Cheetahs as they must reach the final of the Africa Cup Sevens to secure a place at the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens finals in San Francisco, United States.

Makombe believes his move to RCC will not stop him from playing for the Zambezi Cheetahs.

“I have been involved with the Sevens in terms of the preparations to reach San Francisco next year and my move to France will not necessarily hinder my involvement with the teams,” he said.

“I spoke to coach Gilbert (Nyamutsamba) and obviously I have to settle down in France with my new side since I have just recently signed. We will be communicating with the club to see how they can fit my Zim Sevens schedule into their plans.

“I missed out on the last World Cup due to my varsity commitments and the way I see it, this is my opportunity to push hard in training so that I make it into the final squad.”

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