HILTON MUDARIKI concedes that he will never be the perfect captain, “Because there is always going to be room for improvement and areas that I will lack,” explains the Cheetahs skipper.
However, at age 24, Mudariki vows to never stop chasing perfection – impossible as it may be to achieve.
Only last weekend the speedy forward came the closest he has ever come to perfection when the Zimbabwe Sevens side won the inaugural Kwese Victoria Falls Sevens Tournament.
“The biggest highlight for me was not just winning the Kwese Victoria Falls Tournament, but doing so after just conceding one try,” said Mudariki. “It was a great feeling winning our home tournament and beating Namibia in the final made it extra special.
“Even though we will not be traveling to Hong Kong this year for the sevens circuit, we showed that the Cheetahs are still a force to be reckoned and did that by putting up an almost perfect defensive display.”
On their unbeaten run to the trophy, the Cheetahs dispatched Zambia 21-0, the Zimbabwe President’s VII 34-0, Botswana 63-0 and the Goshawks 24-0.
The only try the team conceded came in their 24-7 win over Namibia in the final.
As the celebrations of that great feat fade and the future waits, Mudariki – a student at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa – has set his sights on bigger and better things.
Top of that list is to continue growing, both as a player and leader.
“As a leader of the team, I just want to set a good example both on and off the field as well as be a well-rounded professional. This will set a good example for the younger guys to follow,” he said.
Mudariki also dreams of playing Currie Cup rugby and helping the Cheetahs qualify for the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup.
“I am currently at the University of Johannesburg, studying Sports Psychology and playing in the Varsity Cup. This is my third and final season, but I am in the process of negotiating a contact with a Currie Cup team. I am hoping to secure that deal in the coming months. Another big goal of mine is to help Zimbabwe qualify for the Sevens World Cup in 2018,” he said.
Mudariki believes Cheetahs coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba is on to something special.
“What coach Gidza has done is quite remarkable,” he said. “He cast the net wide before the Kwese Tournament and it has already begun to reap rewards.
“We are trying to build a squad that will push for positions, and in casting the net wider, a few talented young stars have been identified and this will only benefit us as a squad. This tournament was a massive step forward in identifying players and preparing us for the Africa Cup.
“We still have a lot to work on before the Africa Cup but the boys appear willing to put in the hard yards in to get us back to we’re we belong,” he said.