Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
AFTER conquering the continent last year, Zimbabwe’s Cheetahs have set qualification for the 2020 Olympics, and retaining the Africa Cup, as their main targets during this year’s rugby Sevens international calendar.
Gilbert Nyamutsamba’s men may not be the country’s flagship rugby team, but they have constantly defied the odds to become the most successful of the sport’s national teams.
They qualified for the 2018 World Cup in the United States and their Africa Cup success later in Tunisia underlined their pedigree.
Cheetahs manager Donald Mangenje and Nyamutsamba have drawn up an audacious plan in which they are looking to build a side that will triumph at the Harare International Sevens in March.
“The players will camp before each and every tournament. This year we intend to increase camping periods, especially towards the Africa Cup and World Rugby series tournaments, which have a huge bearing on our year,’’ said Mangenje.
“The Africa Cup is arguably our most important tournament this year given the Olympic Qualifiers.
“We narrowly missed qualification for the last qualifiers going down to Kenya in dramatic fashion four years ago. We are eager to make amends and also be part of the festivities in Japan.
Draft Cheetahs programme 2019:
Harare International 7s (Harare Zimbabwe) March 23 -24
Hong Kong 7s (Hong Kong, Hong Kong) April 5 – 7
Rome 7s (Rome, Italy) June 22 – 23
Windhoek Draught 7s (Lusaka, Zambia) August 31- September 1
Maseru Sevens (Maseru, Lesotho) September 21 – 22
Africa Cup 7s – Olympic Qualifiers (Dates and venue TBA)
Safaricom 7s (Nairobi, Kenya) November
Dubai World Rugby 7s (Dubai UAE) December 1 – 2
Cape Town World Rugby 7s (Cape Town, South Africa) December 8 – 9