Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
FORMER Zimbabwe international Gerald Sibanda has rallied the Cheetahs to showcase their mettle when they compete at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco later this month. The World Cup tourney is scheduled for the AT&T Park in San Francisco, United States, from July 20-22 and the Cheetahs have stepped up their preparations at Old Georgians.
Sibanda, a sprightly winger who also played for the Sables, top-scored for the Cheetahs with five tries when they took part in the 2009 World Cup and won the Bowl event.
He said the class of 2018 had no reason to feel intimidated by the profiles of the teams they will face in the United States.
Zimbabwe will begin their World Cup show with a date against European and Word series side Wales on July 20 with a date against the hosts also awaiting them.
But Sibanda, who has played rugby took him to South Africa, Scotland and Romania believes he saw enough during his fine career to be convinced that the Cheetahs could spring some surprises at the World Cup.
Now a lifestyle consultant with a local car dealer — FaraMatsi Motor — Sibanda has also taken to supporting the local game especially his favourite national team, the Cheetahs whom he is tipping to at least progress to the quarter-finals of the 24-nation tournament.
“From the involvement I have had with them, watching their games, I think they have great potential.
“One area that I would want them to do is to improve their try scoring instead of relying too much on the two individuals.
“When you have many guys scoring you win more games and from what I saw in Italy, there is an improvement in that regard but they can still do more,” Sibanda said.
The 32-year-old former winger also believes the experience that Cheetahs coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba has gained over the years could also stand Zimbabwe in good stead in the United States.
“The good thing is that Gilbert is an experienced coach who was assistant when they qualified for the World Cup in 2009 under Liam Middleton and I was also part of that team that played and won the Bowl after beating Ireland in the final.
“Since then he has been with the team and in 2013 in Russia he qualified as head coach. Now he has qualified for San Francisco and that experience alone shows that the boys are in good hands.
“My message to them has been let’s aim to qualify for the quarter-finals and see how it goes from there. It is a possibility that can be achieved.”