THE payment uproar that threatened to stabilise the Zimbabwe Sevens rugby team before the Sevens World Cup in Dubai in March resurfaced this week with four key players declining to travel to Kenya for the Tusker Safari Sevens this weekend.
The Cheetahs flew out to Nairobi on Wednesday with the same squad that, almost routinely, won the Castle Lager Lusaka Sevens in Zambia last weekend. But Tusker, Africaâ€™s leading Sevens tournament, will prove tough for a team that is still gelling.
The side will heavily depend on the remaining seven core players.
Before the World Cup, the dispute was only resolved in the interim.
The four who didnâ€™t turn up are brilliant Union Rugby Club winger Wes Mbanje, regarded as the best winger in the Golden Lions province club scene in South Africa. Then there is the trio of backs Cleopas Makotose, Tangai Nemadire and Gerald Sibanda of Schotse-Kloof Walmers Rugby Club in Cape Town.
Front-rower Slater Ndlovu and playmaker Willis Magasa are still sidelined by injuries, leaving Zimbabwe without six of the key players who helped them win the Bowl Trophy at the World Cup in March.
UK-based coach Liam Middleton also didnâ€™t travel. Assistant Gilbert Nyamutsamba will stand in again.
The Cheetahs are the seeded team in Pool D, which also has Bristol University, Zambia, and a South of France Select side called Grenoble.
Jacques Leitao (captain), Daniel Hondo, Fortune Chipendo, Grant Mitchell, Slater Ndlovu, Alex Ndangana, Gardner Nechironga, Tafadzwa Mhende, Piet Benade, Scotty Jones, Bruce Chibesa, Taffy Zirima, Njabulo Ndlovu, Nyasha Takavarasha. â€” Staff Writer.