Mehluli Sibanda Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE national sevens rugby team coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba is targeting winning the inaugural edition of the Kwese Sports Victoria Falls Sevens at Victoria Falls Primary School on Saturday and Sunday. Speaking at Hartsfield Rugby Ground yesterday prior to the team’s departure for Victoria Falls where they will start training this morning, Nyamutsamba said while their aspirations are to be champions of the eight-team event, their sights are set on the Africa Cup in November.
This will serve as the 2018 Sevens Rugby World Cup qualifier.
The top two Africans teams from the November tournament will book a place in San Francisco, United States.
“We going to win the tournament, that’s our target. We going there targeting to win the tournament but at the same time if we do achieve one of the objectives whereby we get to identify and to actually see exactly going forward what we need to work per player and as a team, I would have done half the job,’’ said Nyamutsamba.
“But winning is our main target.’’
While preparations for the event have not been ideal for the hosts, with two groups of players — one training in Bulawayo and the other in Harare — Nyamutsamba believes the stiff competition for jerseys should spur his team to stand the heat in the tournament.
Namibia have had better preparations.
One of the senior players Boyd Rouse said they were looking forward to put up one of their best performances in the national colours in Victoria Falls.
What excites Rouse is the presence of new faces in the team, which increases the competition for places.
“We are looking to achieve firm stability, looking to get our names out there and get noticed by coaches. We are all going out to perform our best as a team for the country, so definitely looking to put our best performances this weekend, we are leading up to the bigger thing next year,’’ said Rouse.
“This weekend we are looking to see the players we have, what talent is coming through, there are a lot of new faces this weekend, which is exciting.’’
Nyamutsamba has named five South Africa-based players — Cheetahs skipper Hilton Mudariki, Biselele Tshamala, Brian Dube, Mkhululi Ndlela and the seasoned Gardner Nechironga.
Dube, Ndlela and Nechironga left with the players from Bulawayo, Mudariki flies to Victoria Falls today while Tshamala will arrive a day later.
Zimbabwe are fielding three teams at the tournament — Cheetahs, Goshawks and President’s VII.
This was necessitated by the withdrawal of Sierra Leone.
Botswana and Zambia are sending two teams with Namibia bringing just one side.
The Cheetahs make up Group A together with Namibia, Botswana and Zambia A while Group B has Zambia, President’s VII, Goshawks and Botswana A.
Besides the seniors, there will also be Under-19 boys on display with Petra, Mbare Academy, Goromonzi, Hwange, Plumtree and Bulawayo taking to the field of play on both days.