The Cheetahs prowl their home turf for the first time since their readmission onto the IRB World circuit and coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba believes that should be enough motivation to steer his charges to victory.
“Our only objective is to win this tournament,” said Nyamutsamba. “This will be an emotional and special tournament for us, different from all the other tournaments we have taken part in as it is our home event. We are pleased to be playing on home soil for the first time so that our fans have an opportunity to see the Cheetahs live in action for the first time rather than just seeing them on television.
“I believe that in itself (playing at home) is enough motivation for the boys and I think we are ready for the challenge,” Nyamutsamba said.
The former Zimbabwe international was on Saturday appointed as the substantive head coach of the Cheetahs, while former coach, UK-based Liam Middleton, is now the director of coaching.
The Cheetahs are aware of the pressure of playing in front of a partisan and expectant crowd. “We are wary of the fact that it’s not going to be easy for us because of the pressure that comes from being the host nation. Every team taking part in the tournament will be aiming to beat us, that’s a fact, but we are doing all we can to make sure that we are ready for everything,” Nyamutsamba pledged.
He singled out the South African teams as the main threat to his team’s quest for silverware.
“No doubt the South African teams will give us stiff competition; they have some good players but we have played them before, while Zambia is also a good team. Botswana on the other hand is composed of young and upcoming players,” said Nyamutsamba.
Yesterday the experienced gaffer held two training sessions at Old Georgians with 15 players and was expected to drop three. Some of the players who are likely to feature in the squad include Tangai Nemadire, Germany-based Manasah Sita, Graham Kulback and skipper Jacques Leitao.
The major absentees from the squad are South Africa-based giant loose forward Njabulo Ndlovu and Germany-based utility player Gardner Nechironga due to academic and club commitments respectively.
Zimbabwe has been placed in the same pool as South African sides Northern Select, Buffaloes, and Botswana.