Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
ZIMBABWE rugby A side, the Cheetahs, yesterday visited schools and the Victoria Falls community as part of Zimbabwe Rugby Union’s legacy programme ahead of the Kwese Sports Victoria Falls Sevens, which kicks off this morning.
Four countries including Zimbabwe square up in the inaugural extravaganza which ends tomorrow at Victoria Falls Primary School.
Sierra Leone pulled out this week for logistical reasons leaving Zimbabwe to feature three sides-the Cheetahs and the B and C sides Goshawks and President’s VII respectively, while Botswana and Zambia will field their first and second string teams.
Namibia will feature one team.
There will also be developmental Under 19 sides drawn from Petra High School, Plumtree High, Milton High, Bulawayo Old Mutual Select, Goromonzi High, Mbare Academy as well as Botswana Under 19.
The Chronicle Sport visited the venue where the pitch had been set with tents being pitched around.
Kwese Sport’s technical crew had already set up the outside broadcasting equipment.
Goshawks and President’s VII were having a feel of the venue in a mid-morning training session while the Cheetahs, led by national sevens team coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba and manager Donald Mangenje, sold the ‘rugby to Victoria Falls’ idea to the resort town community after their morning training session.
ZRU director of rugby Nsikelelo ‘Sykes’ Sibanda said: “Namibia are already here while Botswana and Zambia are expected later. With Sierra Leone pulling out we had to change the programme a bit but we are good to go now. As you can see the ground is ready with only final touches such as scaffolding for cameras and advertising banners left which doesn’t take time. In short everything is in place,” he said.
Speaking from Mosi-oa-Tunya High School where the Cheetahs had an interaction with pupils and teachers following a similar engagement at Victoria Falls Primary School, coach Nyamutsamba said he had assembled 36 players for the three teams, made up of locals and only five foreign based.
He said arriving early in Victoria Falls had helped them acclimatise to the searing heat.
“We have brought in more local players because we are using the tourney to identify more local talent,” Nyamutsamba said.
“We are here meeting kids as part of the legacy programme whereby wherever we go we meet as many school kids as possible with the idea of encouraging them to discover and pursue talent and dreams in sport.
Nyamutsamba said interacting with schools and communities keeps the team together as players are reminded of where they came from so they can as well motivate youngsters to aspire to play for the national team.
The A teams will be pooled in two groups, so will be the B sides and Under 19s.
Meanwhile, gate charges for the competition are $5 for the two days and $3 per day.