THE club vs country question is likely to disrupt Zimbabwe rugby coach Brendan Dawsonâ€™s plans for the inaugural Confederation of African Rugby (Car) Trophy in Gaborone, Botswana, in a fortnight.
The financial incentive for representing Zimbabwe in rugby has always been next to nothing, although rugby players are generally more patriotic compared with their soccer and cricket counterparts.
But for Zimbabwean players turning out for clubs in the leading provincial unions in South Africa, there is increasingly a danger of losing their places, match fees and bonuses if they miss key league matches.
Three key Sables, captain and fullback Cleopas Makotose and wingers Gerald Sibanda and Tangai Nemadire, who are on the books of the Schotse-Kloof Walmers club in Cape Town, are doubtful for the Botswana trip due to club commitments.
Then there is the pair of big eighthman Norman Mukondiwa and star winger Wes Mbanje of Johannesburgâ€™s Union Rugby Club, who will also find it costly to spend seven days in the Botswana capital.
Yesterday Sables coach Brendan Dawson was frantically trying to reach Mukondiwa, who captained the Sables in their last international against Zambia in Kitwe last year.
â€œOur league is not one of the greatest and we need to bring up guys playing in South Africa,â€ said Dawson, a former Sables captain with over 100 tests under his belt.
â€œBut I think it has been getting better and better,â€ he said of the local league. â€œThere are inter-city games in Harare on Saturday and Iâ€™m hoping to see some good talent there.â€
The Car tournament, from July 19 – 25, will have the Sables take on Zambia, Tanzania and Reunion in Pool B. Hosts Botswana, Madagascar, Mauritius and Swaziland are grouped in Pool A.
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO