By Petros Kausiyo
Germany-based star wing Tafadzwa Chitokwindo is relishing what could be his swansong Rugby Sevens World Cup and believes they have the capacity to hold their own at the showcase in the United States.
The World Cup will burst into life at the iconic AT&T Park in San Francisco tomorrow with Zimbabwe taking on Wales in the first round qualifier in a game in which victory would then guarantee them a Round of 16 showdown with the hosts later in the day.
Coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba and his Cheetahs flew to the United States over the weekend and after shaking off the jet lag from the long flight that also took them via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, they spent the last few days perfecting their art.
They were joined in San Francisco by the 12th member of the team — Shingi Hlanguyo, who plies his trade in the United States and had been allowed to stay put at his base when camp resumed in Harare two weeks ago.
The star of the Cheetahs is Chitokwindo, who is featuring in his second World Cup, having been part of the cast that was at the 2013 showpiece in Russia where Zimbabwe won the Bowl and finished 13th overall in the 24-nation event.
Chitokwindo, who turns 28 on September 20, told The Herald from San Francisco that he was ready to use his experience from the showcase in Russia to help his team.
“I am looking forward to a big tournament, this is my second World Cup, I have learnt a lot from the previous World Cup and I am looking forward to showcase my talent and you never know, this could be my last World Cup and so I will just go out there and give it my best,” Chitokwindo said.
Chitokwindo is the only survivor from the side that was led by captain Jacques Leitao and included Fortune Chipendo, Mike Morris, Lucky Sithole, Kelvin Magunje, Daniel Hondo, Njabulo Ndlovu, Gardner Nechironga, Wensley Mbanje, Garth Zieglar and Tangai Nemadire.
The returning Kuda Chiwanza also weighed in and praised the team spirit exhibited by the Cheetahs.
“We are grateful for the support we have been shown, it has been amazing. We have gelled as a unit and getting to know each other more and the team spirit has been amazing.
“We are looking to show the world the talent that we have. To be in the World Cup is really amazing, personally I have never been to a World Cup and I am really excited about it,” Chiwanza said.