Sables have ‘Mount Namibia’ to climb

By Enock Muchinjo

AN uphill task awaits the Zimbabwe national rugby team when they clash with arch-rivals Namibia in the Africa Cup semi-final in Windhoek tomorrow.



na, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Matches between the two southern African nations always produce tough competition. With the keen interest of rejuvenated local rugby followers and international sympathisers firmly fixed on the game, the Namibia tie at the Hage Geingob Stadium tomorrow is one that the Zimbabwean rugby chiefs want the Sables to win at all costs.


The result is set to show the ZRU what course to take from here. A Sables’ defeat will justify the need to fly in the foreign-based players scattered all over the top rugby nations in the world for future matches, while a highly unlikely Sables win will mean thumbs-up for the locally based contingent and ease pressure on the Zimbawe Rugby Union (ZRU).


Sables coach Brighton Chivandire will have to do without speedy winger Augustine Mberi, who left the country for trials in England last week, while veteran flyhalf Ian Noble, re-called to boost the backline, did not turn up.

The backs appeared to be the department that required adjustments when the Sables laboured to beat Uganda 17-0 in Harare a fortnight ago. The three-quarter line lacked inspiration and ball skills while the halfbacks struggled to run and pass the ball well.


The only weakness in the forwards pack against Uganda were the locks who got stuck in scrums and failed to drive in rucks and mauls.


It will be hard for the Sables to even compete favourably against the Namibians, the majority of who play professional rugby in the South African Currie Cup and in other professional leagues abroad.


Namibia are a formidable outfit and will enjoy an added advantage of playing at home where they walloped Kenya 65-7 in their last group match two weeks ago. They rely more on their heavy forwards who like keeping the ball within their reach and making headway, allowing their backline ample time and space to utilise and punish their opponents.


Probable Sables line-up:


1 A Sairayi 2 M Nyathi 3 R Gurumani 4 A Mathe 5 E Mukandi 6 S Ndlovu 7 C Dinha 8 J du Rand 9 G Hewitt 10 G Mitchell 11 S De Souza 12 D Hondo 13 J Muzawazi 14 E Munyoro 15 V Zimbawo