HomePoliticsZim Sevens’ reputation at stake

Anjin not remitting diamond proceeds: Biti

ZIMBABWE’S reputation as a fiercely competitive side on the IRB Sevens World Series appears shaky after their indifferent showing in the first two legs of the 2009/10 series in Dubai and South Africa last December.

They seemed to have lost that fighting spirit which even in defeat earned them sympathisers despite playing in just three events of the eight-legged whirlwind series.
Sevens rugby in Zimbabwe goes back to the early 1990s when players like Ian Noble, Bedford Chimbima, Craig Brown among others, put the country on the map.
But on the IRB circuit, the esteem in which the current Zimbabwe team is held is owed to such outstanding players as Arnold Takawira, John Ewing, Allan Mdewa, Tich Chidongo, Neill Nortje, Gus Mberi, Emmanuel Munyoro- who formed the core of the team in the formative years.
When these men departed, the next generation ushered players like Slater Ndlovu, Jacques Leitao, Wes Mbanje, Daniel Hondo, Fortune Chipendo; who filled in with relative ease.
Something must have gotten in the Zimbabwe camp in Dubai and South Africa to lose to such a humiliating scoreline as 50-0 to Kenya and on returning home the team’s manager Bruce Hobson spoke of chopping certain players because “they were not hungry enough anymore”.
Hobson spoke of fusing a few of the old guard with younger, energetic players coming through the system.
Indeed, some of the old guard will not be there in Hong Kong today and tomorrow, but it is by default rather than design.
Workhorse Slater Ndlovu is injured, talismanic winger Wes Mbanje also picked an injury last week in South Africa and compatriot Gerald Sibanda is still trying to settle down at Western Province.
Sensing another humiliation on tour, coach Liam Middleton and Hobson have had to recall Germany-based livewire Manasah Sita, who had fallen out of favour. 
Also called up is England-based Shingai Chiwanga. Although little is known about him in his homeland, he appears highly-rated at Shelford Rugby Club in the UK. The club plays in the National League 2 South. Chiwanga plays fullback, flyhalf or scrumhalf at XVs. 
Although born in Harare in 1986, his club’s website says he has British nationality.
Leitao, Hondo, Chipendo and Grant Mitchell are there to provide experience while Njabulo Ndlovu, Scotty Jones and Graham Kaulback will be secret weapons for Middleton. 

Squad
Jacques Leitao (captain), Grant Mitchell, Daniel Hondo, Fortune Chipendo, Alex Ndangana, Manasah Sita, Gardner Nechironga, Njabulo Ndlovu, Matt Rowe, Graham Kaulback, Scotty Jones, Shingai Chiwanga. ––Staff writer

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