Nyamutsamba salutes Cheetahs

HARARE - The Zambezi Cheetahs coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba heaped praises on his charges after they fought bravely over the weekend in Uganda to clinch qualification for the Sevens World Cup next year.

Nyamutsamba’s charges sealed qualification for next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens finals to be held in San Francisco, United States despite losing 10-7 to hosts Uganda in the Africa Cup final.

Besides directly qualifying for the Rugby World Cup Sevens finals slated for July, the Zambezi Cheetahs will also play in the HSBC World Rugby Series qualifier tournament in the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens.

And speaking soon after the team’s arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday, Nyamutsamba said: “After such long gruesome preparations and to actually come out with the expected result that we wished for, we are all excited, the boys are excited,” Nyamutsamba said. 

“I am so happy that at the end of the day the players did all they could, they played their best and gave their all and we were rewarded by being successful at the tournament. It just goes to show that hard work pays off.

“We are just excited and happy knowing that we are going to be part of the top 24 teams in the world and to compete at the World Cup.

Highlighting on the tournament in Kampala, Nyamutsamba revealed it was a tough road.

“It was a very difficult tournament and there were quite a number of strategies to be played. I am sure you saw that on the first day the teams were playing strategic games and I am sure we did that,” said Nyamutsamba.

“On day one maybe not our best performance but we were playing a tournament and at the end of the day I am glad that the strategy that we put in place actually worked out.

“But looking at it, I would really want to commend the players that all started in January.

“Players worked hard during training, off training they did extra work by themselves going to the gym, running and at the end of the day it all shows that the hard work they have put in has resulted in us qualifying for the world cup and we get an opportunity to compete with the top.”

“That’s quite exciting for us as a team and I am sure the nation and everyone is behind us and is happy for us too.”

Nyamutsamba added that their triumph is just part of a lengthy road to the World Cup finals.

“For us it’s a continuation, so we are not really taking a break. We are simply continuing,” he said.

“So the preparations that we use for the qualifications, we are continuing with the same kind of energy, with the same kind of focus such that by the time we get to our first international tournament in Hong Kong we will be ready for it.

“And it will also work out as the preparation for the World Cup. I am sure by the time we get to the World Cup the team should actually be in a better stage of play than where we are right now.”

On their way to sealing qualification for the Sevens World Cup, the Zambezi Cheetahs dismissed plucky Tunisia 17-12 in the quarterfinals in a closely-fought match.

The match had to be decided in extra time, via the golden try-rule with Steven Hunduza putting down the deciding try which sent the Cheetahs to the semifinals.

The Cheetahs went on to beat Madagascar 21-10 in the semifinals before blowing a 7-0 lead in the final to lose 10-7 to hosts Uganda.

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