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Already a star at 18

By Enoch Muchinjo

FOR Tangai Nemadire, being a high school sports icon comes as natural as his outstanding talents.

The 18-year-old

is much more than a high school whizkid — he is a rugby star. His exploits are not just appreciated in the confinements of Churchill High School, but throughout Zimbabwe rugby circles.

Last year, aged 17, Nemadire, or “Too Bad” as he is popularly known, became the youngest player to play national representative rugby in years when he was selected to the Zimbabwe B sevens team.

With players of Nemadire’s calibre around, it is no wonder the Zimbabwe schools team is tipped to make history by qualifying for the Under-19 World Cup to be held next year.

“Every one wants to go to the World Cup. Morale among the players is very high and the team is well-drilled since we know each other from the matches we have played against each other at the Cottco Schools Festival and in the Super 8,” said Nemadire.

The speedy three-quarter already plays at premier level for Harare Sports Club, where he plays a crucial role in the club’s dominance of local sevens rugby – scoring harvesting tries from the wing or fullback where he uses his lightning pace and deft ball skills to leave markers clutching air.

“I am very proud to be part of Harare Sports Club. Everyone loves their rugby and we support each other a lot. We have retained the Summer Sevens Series that we won last year and it’s something very special,” Nemadire said.

“I am also privileged to have my club coach Sykes Sibanda and manager Blessing Chiutare as my school team coaches as well.”

The Harare-born star started his high school education at Marondera High before coming back to the capital for his A levels at Churchill. The young man, who initially wanted to play soccer, blossomed into a rugby star on his arrival at Churchill last year, where he immediately made it into the first team – the Bulldogs.

“The first season with the Bulldogs was a bit tough since it was the same year the Super 8 was introduced and we were not playing against the top teams at Marondera. I scored some good tries playing as a fullback early in the season and that boosted my confidence,” he said.

This season Nemadire continued to impress, becoming one of the only two school players in the national Under-21 side that toured South Africa in March.

Despite all his early achievements, Nemadire still remarkably maintains a cool head. Humble and realistic about himself, he says: “I still have a long way to go. I want to improve on my game and become the best rugby player that I can.”

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