By Petros Kausiyo
Government has pledged to assist Zimbabwe’s Rugby Sevens World Cup-bound side amid revelations the Cheetahs have been battling for resources ahead of their participation at the global showcase in San Francisco, United States. The Cheetahs are scheduled to fly out of Harare on July 14 ahead of the start of the tournament six days later where they will open their campaign with a date against Wales.
But the reigning Zimbabwe Sports Team of the Year, have been struggling for resources.
The Cheetahs through their mother body — the Zimbabwe Rugby Union — have tabled their plight before the Government through the Sports and Recreation Commission.
Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation Minister Kazembe Kazembe earlier this week said the Government took cognisance of the important role the Cheetahs would play as the country’s sporting ambassadors at the World Cup and would find ways to chip in.
He said they were aware that there was little time left before the Cheetahs plunge into the biggest Sevens tournament on the globe where Zimbabwe will be one of only four African countries with the others being South Africa, Kenya and Uganda.
Sports Commission acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere yesterday said he had received the Cheetahs’ request and would meet with ZRU general manager Sifiso Made today to discuss finer details of the matter.
Among the challenges which the Cheetahs face is that of airfares and the need to fly in for the final training camp, their foreign legion, which includes Germany-based star Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Shingi Hlanguyo who is based in the United States and Rian O’Niel who is in Cape Town.
“What happens is that the SRC made a commitment at the start of the year in conjunction with Government would make an effort to support all national teams but at times our budget is not elastic enough.
“In most cases we would meet the airfares for national associations’ requirements while others have their teams funded by sponsors or their international federations.
“As we speak Government is assisting the team going to the African Youth Games in Algeria and I have just received a request sent by the ZRU CEO Made.
“At times national associations leave it until late to send in their requests and at the end of the day it is the Sports Commission or the Government which is blamed for not supporting.”