Zambezi Cheetahs wary of Zambia

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Sevens rugby team is fully aware of the threat posed by hosts Zambia at next month’s Lusaka Sevens International Rugby tournament.

Most of the leading teams on the continent will gather at the Leopards Hill Polocrosse Club in Lusaka for the tournament to be held on the weekend of September 2-3.

The Zambezi Cheetahs are using the tournament as part of their preparations for the 2017 Africa Cup Sevens tournament to be held in October in Kampala, Uganda.

A lot is at stake in Kampala as the Africa Cup Sevens serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2018 World Cup Rugby Sevens finals to be held in San Francisco, United States.

Team manager Donald Mangenje said they are cognisant of the fact that the Zambians will be out for revenge for the loss they suffered at the Kwese Sports Sevens tournament earlier this year.

“We are grateful for the game time opportunity and we are fully aware that it will not be an easy tournament particularly against the hosts having beaten them at the Victoria Falls tournament recently,” Mangenje told the Daily News.

“They will be out to get revenge against us and with the home support it will definitely not be easy playing against them.”

Mangenje said the Zambezi Cheetahs will not be overawed by the occasion though. 

“But we are not small boys either. We have been there before and triumphed on numerous occasions so we hope to bag the Lusaka Sevens tourney,” he said.

“Winning this tournament will set a good platform for the coming Africa Cup campaign which is why it is very important for us to get a good start by doing well in Lusaka.”

The Cheetahs’ training squad of 40 players is set to be trimmed to 30 on Monday and when the team departs for Lusaka on August 31 only 24 players will be left.

Zambia, on the other hand, began their camp for the tournament yesterday with 30 players going through the mandatory fitness tests.

“As camp starts today (yesterday), benchmark levels have been set and . . . we see the survival of the fittest as 30 players are made to undergo fitness tests,” Zambia Rugby 7s said on their official Twitter feed yesterday.

The benchmark fitness levels camp requirements included the bleep test (level 13), bench press (body weight 3 reps), pull ups (10 reps), plank (2.5 minutes) and squat (1.5 x body weight 3 reps).

Zambia squad: Israel Kalumba, Edward Mumba, Emmanuel Daka, Berthlock Sikaona, Edmond Hamayiwa, Ackim Mushota, David Chimbukulu, Thaddius Chipoya, Martin Chisanga, William Mukuka, Leonard Malipenga, Lastone Mukosa, Sheleni Michello, Guy Lipschitz, Jubilee Chisenga, Brian Mbalwa, Derrick Chewe, George Mwamba, David Badcock, Terry Kayamba, Carlos Kanyama, Charles Tembo, John Roy Watt, Daniel Luyt, Larry Kaushiki, Stanley Kalasa, Chris Ntambo, Trevor Squire. 

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