Nyamutsamba trims Cheetahs squad

HARARE - After overseeing an extended squad in the run-up and during last weekend’s Victoria Falls Kwese Sevens finals, Zambezi Cheetahs coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba has trimmed his squad.

At the start of the preparations there were at least 40 players in camp and Zimbabwe fielded three sides during the tournament held in the resort town.

The hosts were represented by the Cheetahs, Goshawks and the Zambezi Steelers with all the players on audition trying to impress national team coach ahead of next month’s Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

The Cheetahs, who won the inaugural tournament in 2017 after beating Namibia 24-7 in the final, could not make it back-to-back wins after going down 10-5 to the East Africans at Victoria Falls primary School.

Kenya scored two unconverted tries through Amunga Levi Anyangu and Brian Naragwa while Riaan O’Niel scored for the hosts.   

Nyamutsamba and his technical team decided to retain all off the 12 players that made the Cheetahs squad for the training camp which began yesterday afternoon in Harare.

The Cheetahs technical team was however, also impressed by the duo of Gardner Nechironga and Brendon Mandivenga, who have also been added to the training squad.

Nechironga is now enjoying a second lease of life in his international career after coming out of retirement in 2015.

The former Old Hararians backline player was recalled to the Cheetahs set-up at the start of last year for the inaugural Victoria Falls Kwese Sevens.

Last weekend, the 34-year-old was drafted into the Goshawks squad and performed admirably to warrant his place in the Hong Kong Sevens training squad.

Nechironga, who was part of the Cheetahs squad for the 2009 and 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens finals, is now in line to fight for a place on the roster for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens to be held in San Francisco, United States in July.

Mandivenga was also in the Goshawks squad last weekend but did enough to catch Nyamutsamba’s eye.

Speaking after the final defeat to Kenya, Nyamutsamba was pleased that he was able to see a number of combinations to work with as the Cheetahs seek World Sevens Series core status in Hong Kong early next month.

“We can only get better. From today, going into Hong Kong, we are going to be a better team,” Nyamutsamba told Kwese Sports TV.

“We have gotten to play some combinations that we never had a chance to play, and we have introduced some new players who were playing sevens for the very first time.

“They have experienced some sevens demands so we are happy that we actually got a chance to play in a tournament before going to Hong Kong.”   

Cheetahs squad: Biselele Tshamala, Connor Pritchard, Boyd Rouse, Ziyanda, Khupe, Ngoni Chibuwe, Shayne Makombe, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Njabulo Ndlovu, Hilton Mudariki, Lenience Tambwera, Stephan Hunduza, Riaan O’Neil, Brendon Mandivenga, Gardner Nechironga.

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