Pangeti In, Ziegler Out For Cheetahs

THE Zimbabwe Sevens rugby team assembles in Harare today ahead of the first two legs of the IRB World Sevens Series in Dubai and George, South Africa, to be held in the next two weeks.

Newcomer Gordon Pangeti, the South Africa-based winger, will join the team for the first time today. But Italy-based Garth Ziegler has called time on his short involvement with Zimbabwe after he was told he has a chance to play for Italy in future.
Utility back Ziegler joined Italian Top 10 side Venezia-Mestre last month and has impressed in his debut season, prompting selectors to promise him an Italian national team call-up in the “near future”.
 Ziegler will not have problems qualifying for the Azurri because he has not played for Zimbabwe at Test level. He only turned out for a Zimbabwe second-string sevens side in South Africa few months ago.
“If he stays for 36 consecutive months in the country,  he will be eligible to play for Italy,” said Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Bruce Hobson. “The club likes him, everyone likes him. I’m happy for him because he has a chance to play at a top level and sad for him because he’s now lost to us. It’s a career opportunity and we can’t begrudge him for that. I wish him all the best.”
The Cheetahs will tour Dubai and South Africa without experienced prop Fortune Chipendo, who damaged a cartilage in the World Cup qualifying tournament in Tunisia last month.
UK-based coach Liam Middleton and back Ryan Manyika jets in today. Star centre Daniel Hondo, who is also based in England, stayed behind after the Tunisia tournament. All the South Africa-based players are already in Harare.
Meanwhile, representatives from the World Anti-Doping Association (Wada) paid an announced visit to the Cheetahs players this week and took drug-test samples.
“It’s an out-of-competition process so we don’t tell people in advance,” said Wada doping control officer, William Foster. “We collected samples and the tests will be done in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in the next two to three weeks. No news will be good news. We only contact people if there’s a problem.”
Cheetahs training squad:
Jacques Leitao (captain), Silethokuhle Ndlovu, Cleopas Makotose, Daniel Hondo, Grant Mitchell, Willis Magasa, Gardner Nechironga, Manasah Sita, Alex Ndangana, Tangai Nemadire, Wes Mbanje, Gerald Sibanda, Ryan Manyika, Gordon Pangeti, Tafadzwa Mhende.