Mehluli Sibanda ZIMBABWE national sevens rugby team coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba has announced the 12-men Cheetahs squad for the inaugural two-day Kwese Sports Victoria Falls Sevens which starts at Victoria Falls Primary School on Saturday.
The squad, led by South Africa based Hilton Mudariki has four new faces, these being Wade Petzer, Brian Dube, Nelson Madida and Takudzwa Chiedza. There is a return for veterans Gardner Nechironga and Scotty Jones who have not donned the Cheetahs jersey for a number of years. Completing the list is Boyd Rouse, Lenience Tambwera, Mkhululi Ndlela, Stephan Hunduza and Lucky Sithole.
“I am happy with the final team selection, they have got a good combination of a few experienced players in the team in Stephan, Lenience and Gardner. I am happy that we have been able to identify a few players and to give them a chance to compete. The absence of the more seasoned and senior players is going to affect the way we perform but I am confident that the guys that we are giving a chance and the players we are going to be looking at are going to play their best as they are being given a chance to actually compete for positions,’’ said Nyamutsamba.
The team moved to Victoria Falls on Tuesday where the players started training on Wednesday morning prior to the final squad being announced on Thursday evening. Nyamutsamba described the sessions in the resort town as being tough because of the high temperatures.
He is however confident that the team would have gotten used to the weather when the tournament starts.
“Our training sessions have been quite challenging, we found Victoria Falls to be very hot and we had to train in hot sun but come game day we would have adjusted and acclimatized but yes it is going to be a difficult tournament but I am sure our main objective of player identification is going to be achieved,’’ said Nyamutsamba.
The Cheetahs have been drawn in Group A where they will play against Namibia, Botswana and Zambia A. Zambia, Goshawks, Botswana A and Zimbabwe President’s VII make up Group B. Zimbabwe are fielding three sides in the eight-team tournament which was necessitated by the withdrawal of Sierra Leone.
Cheetahs squad: Hilton Mudariki(captain) Wade Petzer, Takudzwa Chiedza, Lucky Sithole, Nelson Madida, Scotty Jones, Gardner Nechironga, Lenience Tambwera, Stephan Hunduza, Brian Dube, Mkhululi Ndlela, Boyd Rouse.