WITH a World Cup place in the bag, the Zimbabwe Sevens rugby team is now focusing on strengthening the team ahead of the tournament set for March in Dubai.
The chief target is South Africa-based Gordon Pangeti, the Pumas winger who was once called up to a South Africa Sevens training squad but was never capped.
Pangeti was part of the Prince Edward School team that illuminated the local schools scene in the late 1990s.
On leaving PE he went to Stellenbosch University where he played club and then the Pumas.
Coach Liam Middleton has always said the best possible team must always be selected. At least three new players are expected to be added to the current core squad of 15.
â€œItâ€™s not about what you have done in XVs or how long you have been in and around Sevens in Zim,â€ Middleton told IndependentSport last month. â€œAt international level itâ€™s about picking the best 12 players.â€
The other player on the wanted list is Italy-based winger Garth Ziegler, who turns out for Serie A giants Venezia-Mestre in Venice.
â€œHe (Ziegler) and Gordon are sprinters, but can also play in the forwards at Sevens,â€ said Cheetahs boss Bruce Hobson.
Hobson is also hoping to rope in France-based flyhalf Piet Benade, Pangetiâ€™s former teammate at PE, Zimbabwe Schools and the Pumas. Benade, who underwent an operation on his groin last month, has not played for his French Pro D2 club, USA Limoges, this season.
Meanwhile, the Cheetahsâ€™ preparations have suffered an injury blow after experienced prop Fortune Chipendo was this week ruled out of the IRB World Sevens Series in Dubai and George, South Africa, at the end of this month and early December, respectively.
The UK-based Chipendo damaged a cartilage during the World Cup qualifiers in Tunisia two weeks ago. The Cheetahs will use the first two legs of the grand-prix series as part of their World Cup preparations.
By Enock Muchinjo