Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Under-20 rugby coach Farai Mahari says strength of character will be as important as physical ability when he picks his final squad for the Barthes Cup tournament in Madagascar from April 17-23.
The young Sables are presently preparing for the Barthes Cup tournament, formerly known as the Africa Cup Under-20, where they will play against Kenya in the semi-finals, while Namibia take on Madagascar. Winners of the two encounters will clash in the final.
The winner of the competition will take part in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy to be held in Uruguay from August 29 to September 10.
Mahari said 33 players are camped in Harare vying for the final 25 squad that will be announced on Saturday evening.
“I’m looking for players who understand the process of rugby. In order to get good results, there is a process that is involved and that is doing things the right way. Once you do that, results will speak for themselves. Our objective is to do things the right way, so at the end of the day players will be picked by their appreciation of process,” said Mahari.
“There are some players who really work hard, but don’t believe in the process involved. I want players who will trust and appreciate the process which becomes mechanical rather than emotional. I’m also looking for that strength of character, ability not to be broken, players that are tough physically and mentally and who are able to follow the process in disappointments.”
Mahari said he is confident his charges will win the tournament, but was under no illusion about the tough competition ahead.
“Kenya and Namibia might prove to be our toughest encounters because we have been playing them for a long time now and they now know our kind of play. They also have some players based in South Africa whom I believe are of high quality.
“I am very confident that this time we will win the title because there is no use competing if you don’t believe in yourself. We are going there to win and that’s everyone’s objective.
“There is a group of young talented players in camp with a mixture of young and experienced athletes, so the team is balanced.
“This does not make it any easier for me to make the selection because everyone is capable of going to the tournament and delivering good results,” he said.