KENNEDY Tsimba is still in the picture for selection into Zimbabweâ€™s Sevens Rugby World Cup team if he sorts out his travelling documents on time, coach Liam Middleton revealed Thursday.
Chances of the Free State Cheetahs legendâ€™s inclusion in the squad grew slimmer last week due to Tsimbaâ€™s current contractual obligations with Griffons in South Africa, and question marks over his commitment to Zimbabwe rugby beyond the World Cup.
Tsimba was this week frantically trying to renew his Zimbabwean passport to join the training squad camp in Beatrice.
â€œI spoke with him today and there was still no news about his passport,â€ Middleton told IndependentSport Thursday.
Middleton said Tsimba would however not just walk into the team.
â€œHeâ€™s a good player, he has good pedigree and I want to have a look at him. I won’t select him on his past record. If I feel he is not fit enough because he played Sevens a long time ago then he wonâ€™t be picked. We are not looking at the past, but what he can bring to the table now.â€
Meanwhile, a 15-man training squad travelled to Beatrice yesterday after an uneasy period which saw players boycotting training on Wednesday over outstanding payments. Middleton said the issue had been resolved.
But a source close to the players said the South Africa-based trio of Cleopas Makotose, Tangai Nemadire and Gerald Sibanda had been axed from the squad for leading the boycott.
It could not be established at the time of going to print if that effectively rules them out of contention for World Cup places.
The final 12-man World Cup team will be decided on Monday.
â€œSelection is going to be tough and Iâ€™m sorry for the three guys who wonâ€™t make it,â€ Middleton said.
â€œBut thatâ€™s what international sport is all about. A decision has to be made for the team and the country.
Iâ€™m open-minded about all players and want to get the best combination.
I canâ€™t say anyone is definitely out or anyone is definitely in.
We are still a long way from where we want to be thatâ€™s why we had a camp in Harare and this one in Beatrice.Â
There might be surprises.
A player has to have the right attitude on and off the field because the World Cup is a big campaign.â€
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO