THE highly anticipated rugby sevens tournament that was set to take place in Harare next month has been postponed due to clashes in dates with the Africa Cup.
The competition originally set for the weekend of November 13 and 14 clashes with the Confederation of African Rugby Africa Cup tournament where Zimbabwe has since reached the semi-finals of the 15s event.
The sevens tournament that had generated a lot of interest locally will now be rescheduled. National seven’s team manager Bruce Hobson, who is organising the tournament, told Independent Sport of this development.
“It is not looking good at the moment with the Confederation of African Rugby tournament on the same weekend,” said Hobson.
“Everything had been planned and we were ready but we have to play in that 15s tournament where we have reached the semi-finals, we can’t possibly have the two at the same time so we are already looking at January or February next year.”
He added that it was difficult to have the tournament earlier with a lot having been planned already for the players at that time.
Hobson also said that there was so much going on in the next three months that it would be difficult to fit in that tournament before the end of the year.
The Cheetahs were expected to host some of the continental rivals, including Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar in Harare.
In the Africa Cup, Zimbabwe is one of the three countries that have so far qualified — joining Kenya and Morocco while the West Africa berth is yet to be decided.
Hobson ruled out a lack of funding as a reason for the shelving of the much anticipated tournament stressing that everything had been well set for the smooth hosting of the tournament.
The organisers have approached Dominus Sport to market the tournament and get good funding for it, it has been established.
Dominus Sport is involved in cricket and they are managing the domestic franchises and things handle the Stanbic T20 Championships, among other things.
The original plans for this tournament were to have it in Victoria Falls so as to attract international teams but with no venue at the tourist resort, Harare would host the inaugural event.
The challenge will be to come up with a stadium of international standards in Victoria Falls for future editions as it is the resort town that has been marked to be the permanent home for this tourney.
The Gilbert Nyamutsamba-coached Cheetahs have been playing well in their last few outings, making it to the finals of two tournaments on the trot in the last three weeks.
They made it to the final of the Castle Sevens in Zambia and were again losing finalists to powerhouses Springboks of South Africa in the Platinum Sevens tournament in Rustenburg last weekend.
Among other commitments to follow for the Cheetahs are the IRB legs in Dubai and George at the beginning of December whilst there is another tournament in Namibia next month.