HARARE – Zimbabwe rugby plunged deeper into crisis this week after the Sables failed to train for a single session ahead of this afternoon’s international friendly against Zambia at Harare Sports Club.
The Sables are using the match, a World Rugby-sanctioned friendly, to prepare for the 2017 Africa Cup competition — which acts as a qualifier for the 2019 World Cup.
Three games are lined up for this afternoon — first the men’s Zimbabwe A is scheduled to take on Zambia A at 3pm while the Lady Sables side will take on their Zambian counterparts at 5pm.
The Sables’ clash with Zambia is the main event and is scheduled to kick off at 7pm under floodlights. Zim A and the Lady Sables had no issues during their preparations for today’s matches as both teams were made available by yesterday afternoon.
It is in the Sables camp were things were not in order after the side failed to hold a single training session in the run-up to this afternoon’s match.
The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) is weighed down by funding and they failed to pay for the team to train under floodlights at Prince Edward School. Another ZRU insider told the Daily News that the players were also threatening to boycott the match as they feel they are being ill-treated by the union.
It was only around 6pm last night that coach Cyprian Mandenge’s squad for the match against the Zambians was announced.
The Zambians were on their way to Harare yesterday as ZRU officials frantically tried to contain the crisis.
However, the chaotic preparations in the run up to this match spell more problems for the Sables since they begin their 2017 Africa Cup campaign against Kenya at Hartsfield in Bulawayo on July 15.
Last year, Zimbabwe had a dismal Africa Cup campaign losing all matches to Kenya, Uganda and Namibia. If Rugby Afrique had not expanded the tournament this year, Zimbabwe should have been playing in the second tier.
It will be interesting to see what team runs onto the pitch this afternoon considering off-field problems that have dogged the side this week.
Zim A Squad – Forwards: Dean Makoni, Edwin Nxumalo, Austin Sulubani, Basil Dube, Reginald Rutsvara, Samuel Mhoro, Rodney Ncube, Tinashe Ganyau, Wilfred Office, Emmanuel Zangari, Dlelo Velempini, Pride Nyameni.
Backs: Benson Chiripanhari, Takudzwa Gamanya, Victor Mushayahama, James Vambe, Takudzwa Franscisco, Walter Gode, Rodney Chikami, Theo Goredema, Theo Chiremba, Tatenda Ngomashe, Vincent Chasiya, Anesu Ngwerume, Blessing Washayabuna.
Lady Sables Starting XV: 15. Precious Marange, 14. Rachel Tembo, 13. Lovelight Fusire, 12. Delight Mukomondo, 11. Wadzanai Chidawa, 10. Thubeluhle Tshuma, 9. Sicelumusa Nyoni, 8. Lissy Wasarirevu, 7. Rumbidzai Chigumbu, 6. Debra Teterai, 5. Peace Sithole, 4. Precious Mikazhu, 3. Faith Mhungira, 2. Patience Harubereki, 1.Patience Marima.
Reserves: Mitchell Mutumbi, Mercy Nyakanda, Tatenda Chitewe, Getrude Masora, Tariroyashe Marufu, Llona Dzikiti Chelsea vMushoweshiri, Nicole Chigwedere
Sables Squad – Forwards: Denfords Mutamangira (Capt), Lawrence Cleminson, Irvine Nduwa, Takudzwa Bvunzawabaya, Tolerance Zishe, Brian Nyaude, Fortune Chipendo, Graham Cochrane, Osborne Muhambi, Witness Mandizha, Lucky Sithole, Kingsley Lang, Takudzwa Mandiwanza, Simbarashe Muza, Kudakwashe Nyakufaringwa.
Backs: Scotty Jones, Hilton Mudariki, Joshua Gando, Prince Ncube, Tichafara Makwanya, Boyd Rouse, Dan Capsopoulos, Stephan Hunduza, Tinashe Gwisai, Tafadzwa Mhende, Itai Nyamoto, Tarisai Mugaviri, Tadius Hwata, Lloyd Machanjaira, Takudzwa Kumadiro.