Cheetahs leave for Zambia

HARARE - Zimbabwe Sevens rugby coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba is pleased with the way his team is shaping up ahead of the Africa Cup Sevens finals in Kampala, Uganda next month.

The Zambezi Cheetahs are scheduled to leave for Zambia this morning for the Lusaka Sevens tournament where they will step up their preparations for the Africa Cup.

Nyamutsamba will travel with two teams to Lusaka — the Zambezi Cheetahs and the Goshawks — in order to give all the players a chance to be part of the final team for the Africa Cup.

“Our preparations have gone well. All the players that I had called up have joined camp and this tournament we are using it as a continuation of the selection process that started in March when we had the Kwese tournament,” Nyamutsamba told the Daily News yesterday.

“As much as we are going to Zambia to win the tournament, my first objective is to actually see as many players that I can since we are preparing for the Africa Cup.

“This still remains a trials tournament so the first objective is to see and try as many combinations as possible as we are still in preparation for the Africa Cup.

Nyamutsamba added: “This is going to be an advantage for me to take two teams to Zambia because it has allowed us to travel with 24 players.

“At the Kwese tournament we had 36 players and now we have cut down to 24 which gives me the opportunity to see more players in action.

“After the Zambia tournament we are going to cutting down our squad to 18 for the next tournament and after that we will cut it down to 12. Those will be the players that will go to represent us at the Africa Cup.”

Although their aim is to do well in Lusaka, Nyamutsamba said the bigger picture will always be the Africa Cup in Kampala.

If the Zambezi Cheetahs reach the final of with the Africa up then they will automatically qualify for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 finals to be held in San Francisco, United States.  

A good showing in Kampala will also see the side qualify for the Hong Kong Sevens tournament where they stand a chance to gain core status for the World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 season.

“Right now all I have been asking from the players is to put their hands up and avail themselves for selection,” Nyamutsamba said.

“No pressure yet but I know how it feels like for the players but the good thing that comes out of it is we have given everyone an opportunity to be seen and chosen.

“We have prepared well and we should have a good weekend in Zambia. I’m happy with the way we have prepared for this tournament.

“I’m happy that we have given ourselves a chance to prepare for the Africa Cup. It’s all about preparations and not about the day when you actually go to compete.

“If we continue like this I’m seeing us going to actually do well at the Africa Cup; if it continues like this.”

Zambezi Cheetahs: Biselele Tshamala, Mark Kidson, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Scottie Jones, Stephan Hunduza, Takudzwa Francisco, Shingi, Hlanguyo, Ngoni Chibuwe, Hilton Mudariki, Lenience Tambwera, Mkhululi Ndhela, Tarisai Mugari.

Goshawks: Russell Dodo, Emmanuel Zangari, Tendai Dzongodza, Kilvan Magunje, Osborne Muhambi, Innocent Nyatsanza, Tinashe Gwisai, Gideon Muyambo, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Walter Gode, Brian Dube, Prince Ncube  

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