Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
CHEETAHS coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba says participation in the annual Zambia International Sevens Rugby Series will give him an opportunity to gauge the team’s preparedness for the Africa Cup.
The two-day Zambia Sevens Series roar into life in Lusaka this morning with Nyamutsamba’s charges looking to better their third-place in last year’s edition.
With the Africa Cup set for Johannesburg, South Africa, in November, Nyamutsamba, whose Cheetahs side has virtually been inactive since the beginning of the year, believes the Zambia tournament will come handy.
Zimbabwe will not only be under pressure to retain the title they won last year but will be out to grab the sole ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Johannesburg tournament will also double as the qualifier for the Olympics.
The Cheetahs left for Lusaka yesterday with a number of new players after injuries and club commitments ruled some senior players out.
Zimbabwe are in Pool B alongside Blue Bulls, Spartans, Shermanators and Zambia Lechwe.
“We have not been active since the begging of the year. With now only two months away from Olympic qualifiers (Africa Cup), we once again have to try to make the best of what we have,’’ said Nyamutsamba.
“The starting point is checking where we stand as a team, and then knowing what to work on.
“We are, therefore, using this tournament, for player assessment and team evaluation.
“The tournament will give some players a chance to showcase their talent and try and retain a place in the squad.
“I am convinced the players that are representing the country this weekend are going to give it their all, and all that is asked for is a committed performance, and I’m sure most, if not all, of our objectives will be achieved.”
The Cheetahs begin their campaign with a date against Zambia Lechwe this morning before facing Blue Bulls.
They face Spartans in the afternoon and conclude today’s business against Lesotho.