ZIMBABWE Sevens coach Liam Middleton expects this weekendâ€™s Kenya Tusker Safari Sevens to be harder than the previous two tournaments.
The Cheetahs have made it to the final of Africaâ€™s premier sevens-a-side tournament in the last two years, but losing on both occasions to the same team, South Africaâ€™s Emerging Springboks.
“It will be tougher this year,” he said. “The Emerging Springboks are looking good and Kenya have made the quarter-finals five out of six times on the IRB circuit this season.
“Having been in the final in the last two years, it will be nice to go on and win it. But in these tournaments the best teams do not always win. You can go out in the quarter-finals and still be the best team in the tournament.”
Zimbabwe are seeded in Pool B where they will play Tunisia, Namibia and a Kenyan second-string side, Shujaa.
The Cheetahs are boosted by the return of prolific winger Wes Mbanje, who missed the teamâ€™s last two tournaments due to injury.
Also returning are Cape Town-based Cleopas Makotose and Tangai Nemadire.
The Cheetahs are however without experienced playmaker Niell Nortje, while late hopeful France-based flyhalf Piet Benade did not pass a fitness test.
Former player and assistant coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba is the team manager in the absence of Bruce Hobson who is not touring.
Jacques Leitao (captain), Fortune Chipendo, Grant Mitchell, Willis Magasa, Slater Ndlovu, Cleopas Makotose, Tangai Nemadire, Daniel Hondo, Wes Mbanje, Alex Ndangana, Gardner Nechironga, Manasah Sita. â€” Staff Writer.