Zim rugby coach slams shoddy preps

Enock Muchinjo

ZIMBABWE national rugby coach, Chris Lampard, has blamed the lack of financial support, shoddy preparations and travel arrangements for his team’s dismal performance last year.
Lampard presented the “coach’s report for the year&

#8221; at the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU)’s annual general meeting on Sunday.
The Sables played six Test matches in the season, four in the World Cup qualifiers and two Africa Cup games. They won three and lost the other three, including a second-round defeat to Uganda that sent them crushing out of the World Cup qualifiers.
“I am not making any excuses but there were several factors that did affect performances this year (2005),” Lampard explained in the report.
“A national team, its managers and coaches should not be expected to sort out their own finances: the money to pay for players came, most of the time, out of their own pockets. The coaches and managers should be concentrating on the coaching and welfare of the team.
“The technical team were all amateurs, and therefore were employed or had businesses to run. The ZRU should be responsible for raising money for the national teams. There are several staff that are employed on a permanent basis at the union head office.
“The uncertainty concerning money caused a lot of resentment and resulted in an unsettled team in the camp and on tour. On the second camp before we went to Ivory Coast, as we were perceived to be poor payers, we were kicked out of our hotel. The Bulawayo players then arrived and had nowhere to stay. Harare players billeted them where they could for the night.”
Lampard said due allowances were never paid to players, coaches or management, who had to use their own monies for both home and away games.
“This affected discipline, for if you are offering nothing you cannot demand anything. These allowances for last year were continually promised and I believe, are still owed and should be paid.
“Money is owed to the entire technical team, but especially to Mr (Doug) Fingland (team manager) and Mr (Colin) Cloete (helper) who should be reimbursed. 
“We were continuously slated in the press for not getting in external (foreign-based) players: we could not even look after our locally based players.
“Visas had to be paid for out of players’ and management’s own pockets. These should be refunded.”
The Sables haphazard travel arrangements, which were largely blamed on the Confederation of African Rugby, came under attack from the Falcon College-based coach.
Sparing himself of any blame, Lampard also found fault with sevens rugby commitments for the Sables’ poor showing, saying players who were picked for both the Cheetahs and the Sables failed to strike a balance between the two game forms.
The battered state of domestic rugby, Lampard added, was another major contributing factor to the national teams’ disastrous season.