By Enock Muchinjo
THE Zimbabwe national rugby team is confident of victory against Madagascar in Antananarivo on Sunday.
sta Dinha will lead a largely locally-based youthful outfit after managing to stay for the crucial tie despite his German club having requested his release from the Sables camp. The only other overseas-based player in the final 22-man squad announced by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union is flyhalf Victor Zambawo, also based in Germany.
Flank Jeff Tigere is, however, not available as he has already left for Germany.
Dinha was confident of repeating last year’s feat when a strong Sables line-up beat the Indian Ocean islanders away from home.
“We are a superior side compared to them and we should be able to come out with a good result. We have got strong forwards and a much quicker three-quarter line, which are likely to be our major strengths,” he said.
“However, the weather there might be a bit of a problem for us as we will be playing above sea level and there will be a lot of humidity. But we are prepared for that and we wouldn’t allow that to affect us.”
Despite the absence of overseas-based players, coach Brighton Chivandire will have his options cast wide as the domestic players look good enough for the challenge.
Exciting Old Hararians’ utility back Farai Shava has earned a long-overdue inclusion alongside another lanky youngster, University fullback John Marira. In the absence of a tried and tested partner to Harare Sports Club wonder boy Daniel Hondo at centre, Shava might get an opportunity to prove his mettle.
Tigere is likely to be replaced at open-side flank by OH’ s Prayer Chitenderu. Veteran Mzi Nyathi makes a return to the side and will fight it out for the hooker’s position with OH teammate Daniel Macheke. Vice captain Gary Hewitt looks certain to control the scrum but diminutive Tich Chidongo is also very capable.
1. Alfred Sairai 2. Daniel Macheke 3. Rocky Gurumani 4. Emmanuel Munyoro 5. Fortune Chipendo 6. Norman Mutiba 7. Prayer Chitenderu 8. Costa Dinha (captain) 9. GaryHewitt (vice captain) 10. Victor Zambawo 11. TonderaiMapunde 12. Daniel Hondo 13. Farai Shava 14. Augustine Mberi 15. Emmanuel Munyoro. Reserves: Zano Chikara, Arthur Mathe, Slethokuhle Ndlovu, Tich Chidongo, Mzi Nyathi, Michael Banga, John Marira.