Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
AFTER weathering the storm that characterised their arrival in Tunis, Zimbabwe’s Sables got down to business yesterday as they resumed preparations for their Rugby Africa Gold Cup clash against Tunisia on Saturday. Following the debacle which started at Cartage Airport in Tunisia and grabbed global attention after they later rejected a sub-standard lodge they had been booked into, the Sables were later moved to the Alrawabi Hotel.
They held their first training session since arriving in the North African country.
Events that characterised their arrival could set the stage for a blood-and-thunder showdown between the two sides searching for their first wins in this tournament, which is also being used as qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup.
Zimbabwe’s hopes of securing an automatic place at the World Cup in Japan have been disappearing with each outing as Peter De Villiers men have stuttered in this campaign.
Group seeds and pre-tournament favourites Namibia are living up to their billing and top the standings after stretching their points tally at the top to 15 from three games.
The Sables only have two and are in fourth place on the log table behind second-placed Kenya (8) and Morocco who have three points.
Sables captain Denford Mutamangira, speaking from Tunis last night, said although they were not amused with the reception they received, they were ready to put the debacle behind them and fight to save their campaign.
“We have had two training sessions today. We believe the bigger challenge was off-field but our focus remains on the game which we have to win at all costs.
“We are training on astro turf which has rubber underneath and we can’t put on boots, especially in the heat. The only other training ground and the match venue is far from where we are staying but we will play on natural grass.
“It’s so hot here but come Saturday we will be ready to perform. It may not be as fast we would have wanted but we are determined,’’ Mutamangira said.
The 34 year-old forward also insisted that Monday night’s events had served to motivate the Sables.
“What happened has actually motivated us to want to play and win and make our country proud and we want to grab headlines for some positive things this time around’’. The Zimbabwe captain said although they had fallen behind Namibia on the log table, they were looking to revive their hopes with victory over Tunisia. “We have discussed as players and we want to beat Tunisia first and then focus on Namibia and Uganda and then we take it from there.”