Sables face Madagascar, Zambia in Africa Cup

ZIMBABWE’S national rugby team, the Sables, only have two confirmed full interational Test matches this year against Madagascar and Zambia in the Confederation of African Rugby’s flagship tournament, the Africa Cup.


T

he Sables first play Madagascar at home in the first round-robin match in August before traveling to Lusaka to engage Zambia in mid-September.


Zimbabwe last year failed to progress to the group stage of the 2007 World Cup qualifiers after they were knocked out in the second round by Uganda.


Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Bryn Williams said the union was taking the Africa Cup seriously.


“It’s important to us,” Williams said. “We are regarded as one of the best rugby playing nations on the continent. It’s (the Africa Cup) our annual commitment to rugby development in Africa.


“Slowly but surely we want to break into the final after having reached the semis in 2004. We want to be a regular feature in the final by the time we start the next World Cup qualifiers.”


Williams, however, said the Sables could get a few friendlies ahead of the Africa Cup matches.


“Once the appointments committee wraps up the appointment of the national team management, we will see what we can get,” he said.


The appointments committee, chaired by former Sables mentor Godwin Murambiwa, will receive applications and recommend the appointment of the national coach and his assistants.


The other panelists on the committee are former Sables player and coach Brighton Chivandire, ex-national player Gordon Chiromo and Matabeleland Rugby Board executives Alex Goosen and Hugh Roberts.


Chris Lampard coached the Sables last year on an interim basis after Chivandire had quit the side. The veteran Falcon College-based coach will have to reapply for the post.


Murambiwa, an International Rugby Board (IRB)-accredited consultant, told IndependentSport that he has advised ZRU to advertise the Sables job.


“All we are trying to do is to be transparent,” Murambiwa said. “Basically we are looking for someone with a high level coaching certificate. We have to start from somewhere.”


Murambiwa has been conducting coaching courses for local coaches with the certification being done from the IRB headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. — Staff Writer.