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Players fire coach

Enock Muchinjo

PLAYER power returned to haunt rugby again after Reg Querl, coach of the Zimbabwe team playing at the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa, was allegedly barred from travelling with the team by

the players.

Speculation was rife underhand machinations could have goaded the Young Sables into ditching Querl, although sources also claim the young players were incensed by the long-serving coach’s late show-up at the team’s camp in Harare prior to the World Cup assignment.

Querl’s assistant Will Mbanga and former senior national team coach Alex Nichols were in charge of the Under-19s during the camping. The duo then travelled with the Young Sables to South Africa, with Mbanga as head coach while Nichols was rewarded with the manager’s post, replacing Patrick Gumunyu.

Nichols went out of his way to source kit and other sponsorship for the team a few days before the Young Sables departed.

“Querl joined the team a few days before the team departed when the boys had been in camp for two weeks, and what irked the boys was that he did not apologise to the players and the union. The union was not saying anything on the matter and players just took it upon themselves to dismiss the coach,” an official close to the team claimed.

The players, who according to the sources aired their displeasure through Mbanga, were also said to be unhappy with the second-rate commitment to their welfare shown by Querl and Gumunyu, who allowed St John’s College and Prince Edward School to take their national Under-19 players to a schools tournament in Johannesburg only to return two days before the Young Sables left for the World Cup.

Querl refused to comment on the issue when asked to explain why he had stayed behind, while Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) chief executive Titus Zvomuya, who travelled with the Under-19s to Durban, denied that players had prompted Querl’s sacking. Zvomuya could not however reveal details.

It is believed powerful forces within rugby had long been opposed to Querl’s involvement with the team.

The latest player action flies in the face of the ZRU after another revolt by senior national team players two years ago claimed the scalp of Nichols, further raising questions about the union’s capacity to deal with players.

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