Takudzwa Chitsiga, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens team — The Cheetahs — arrived back in Harare late yesterday afternoon after they were left stranded in Victoria Falls by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union.
Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, the team’s representatives, who spent two days on their way back to Harare after they had won the Kwese Rugby Sports Festival at the weekend, said they got a raw deal from the Union which they expect to lead them.
The team, which was aboard a hired mini-bus, had to travel through the night and spent Monday night at Renkini Bus Terminus in Bulawayo only to proceed to Harare at 6am yesterday before arriving in the capital way after midday.
“We are here not to point fingers at anyone but what the ZRU did to us is inhuman to say the least. We spent a week in Victoria Falls for the tournament and we won (the tournament) but until now I don’t think anyone knows how the team travelled from the tournament.
“They do not respect us as players and after the tournament they dumped us at Elephant Hills Hotel where we were later ejected. We are very disappointed . . . Imagine spending time camped for such a tournament only for the union leaders to leave us stranded?
“We risked our lives by travelling to Bulawayo at 9pm after our ejection from the Elephant Hills Hotel and only arrived in Bulawayo at 3am. We ended up sleeping at Renkini Bus Terminus and we (would like to) thank this driver who took us here and we had to allow him to sleep in unfavourable conditions because of the administrators who do not value us as the players,” one of the players said.
The Cheetahs, who were part of the tournament that had foreign nations such as Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, do not even know how their allowances are going to be distributed.
“The administrators had the audacity to fly back to the capital leaving us there, we were also shocked that after the Kwese deal, Sierra Leone and Kenya were supposed to be part of the tournament but they did not turn up and they were replaced by Goshawks and The President V11.
“The two teams were accommodated at Tatenda Safaris which is cheaper and that’s not where the two nations would have stayed had they turned up and we don’t think that money will be accounted for,” they said.
When contacted yesterday, ZRU president Nyararai Sibanda said he was not nvolved in the issues related to the team’s travel arrangements.
“I don’t involve myself in those issues. I am just the president of the union . . . you may ask their coach, team manager or director of rugby (what happened),” he said.
Cheetahs team manager Donald Mangenje also distanced himself from the confusion while team coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba was not available to give his side of the story.