Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE’S most successful rugby side, the Cheetahs, started getting back together yesterday for the final camp of their World Cup preparations, with coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba naming a 16-man provisional side.
The Cheetahs might not really have received the recognition a nation ought to give to its World Cup-bound squad, but Nyamutsamba’s men have been the most consistent performers in Zimbabwean rugby over the last few years
In 10 days’ time Nyamutsamba and team manager Donald Mangenje will lead a cast of 12 players who will take a crack at the World Cup where Zimbabwe will be one of only four African nations at the 24-team jamboree at the AT&T Park in San Francisco, United States from July 20 to 22.
Nyamutsamba, for whom some of his key players are not available due to Sables commitments, said he had to strike a balance between the two national teams when picking his men for the World Cup duty.
“A number of factors were at play in this World Cup selection, due to the fact that most senior players go into retirement or semi-retirement after the World Cup, so we need to also look into the team after World Cup.
“Current form, continuity (was also considered) – a combination of senior seasoned players, who are in good form, with a blend of new young players who have the potential to take the team forward past the World Cup,’’ Nyamutsamba said.
The tournament at France’s Centre National de Rugby is the first of back-to-back rounds for the men on the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens Series, with the third round taking place in Exeter next weekend. Meanwhile, the Sables were detained at the airport in Tunis for more than eight hours yesterday after they flew in for their Gold Cup match against the hosts.
Captain Denford Mutamangira said their passports were seized by the hosts who demanded they pay visa fees.