Nyamutsamba picks his men

HARARE - Zambezi Cheetahs coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba has named his final 12-man squad for next weekend’s Africa Cup Sevens tournament to be held in Kampala, Uganda.

Zimbabwe have been placed in Pool B for the tournament which starts next Saturday in the Ugandan capital together with Madagascar, Senegal, Botswana, and Mauritius. Pool A is made up of Uganda, Tunisia, Morocco, Zambia, and Ghana.

The Zambezi Cheetahs need to at least reach the final in Kampala in order to qualify for the Sevens Rugby World Cup to be held in San Francisco in the United States next year.

Only the top two teams from the Africa Cup Sevens are guaranteed qualification for San Francisco.

Having gone through a rigorous selection process, Nyamutsamba is satisfied with the squad he has selected for the Africa Cup.    

“Our selection process started at the beginning of the year with identifying 56 players then us attending to three tournaments,” Nyamutsamba told the Daily News.

“The idea was to open up the selection and look at every possible player that wanted to play for the Zim Sevens team.

“The response was good and I’m glad that by the time we got to the final team I was able work all the players and I’ve been able to see them in camp situation and in tournament situation.”

Nyamutsamba and his technical team came up with the squad after watching the players take part in the Kwese Sports Victoria Falls Sevens, Lusaka Sevens and Maseru Sevens tournaments this year.

“I would have wanted an extra tournament or so but that did not happen and we ended up just working with what was availed to us,” he said.

“But I’m happy with the preparations, the time and the effort all the players and management have put in to prepare this team for the Africa Cup.”

The squad will be led by captain and scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki, while regular Cheetahs players like Biselele Tshamala, Stephan Hunduza and Njabulo Ndlovu have also been included.

“As you have noticed that the team we have got has got some seasoned players that are missing with some new blood coming in,” Nyamutsamba said.

“For me this works out as a very good combination because I see the new players we have brought in bringing in a different dimension to our play.”

The Zambezi Cheetahs coach is not taking for granted since the other teams have stepped up their game.

“Yes the tournament is going to be a tough one in particular I know that Uganda, Tunisia, Zambia have put in a whole lot of resources into their Sevens teams,” he said.

“But we go there with a target of qualifying for the Sevens World Cup which is our main objective.

“Winning the Africa Cup will be an added bonus but our target is to qualify for the World Cup and what we need to do for that is to make sure we make it into the finals.”  
Zambezi Cheetahs Squad: Hilton Mudariki (Pirates, SA), Biselele Tshamala (College Rovers, SA), Lucky Sithole, Shingi Hlanguyo (Harare Sports Club), Tapiwa Tsomondo (False Bay, SA), Scottie Johns, Stephan Hunduza, Ngoni Chibuwe (Old Georgians), Njabulo Ndlovu (UWC, SA), Boyd Rouse (Bury St Edmunds, UK), Mkhululi Ndhlela (Tuks, SA), Nelson Madida (Mat Warriors). 

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