Zimbabwe senior rugby team “THE SABLES” set for Africa Gold Cup in Dakar

Zimbabwe senior rugby team “THE SABLES” set for Africa Gold Cup in Dakar

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The Sables kick start their long journey in this year’s Gold Cup campaign, where they desperately need to avoid relegation to the second-tier Silver Cup to keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup alive.  The Rugby Africa Gold Cup tournament will act as qualifiers for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan and this time around the Sables are determined to get to the World Cup stage. Zimbabwe have not qualified for the World Cup finals since 1991 and Namibia have always beaten Zimbabwe in the final qualifying round for a place at the World Cup. This comes as no surprise though as Namibia are a Tier 2 ranked nation while we are a Tier 3 development one side.

Zimbabwe is currently ranked 36th in the world with 49.99points according to the latest World Rugby rankings updated on the 19th of june 2017 while Senegal seat on 39th postion. Indeed the Sables are the favorites to win this game but its defininately not going to be a walk in the park for them. The sables posted a win recently when they played Zambia in a friendly match but there is really nothing to celebrate when you play against a weaker nation, they have to pick up fights with teams their own size like Namibia and Kenya and its only that way they get to continue to progress faster.

The Sables are being captained by Denford Mutamangira, the 32-year-old steely front rower, who has led the Sables since June 2015 and will continue with this role for the third successive season and will be deputised by Old Hararians flyhalf Tichafara Makwanya. The Sables go into this game with the unavailability of most foreign-based players and the nation would have really wanted to see a full strength squad assembled to make sure we have a real short for qualification. However, Coach Mandenge is optimistic of his team’s chances after being impressed by their preparatory perfomances even though  his charges have had limited time as a group to prepare because of funding issues. This remains a problem for most Zimbabwean national teams and i think it would be best if as a country we come with a policy or framework to guard our national pride!

Sables squad for Senegal:

Forwards: Denford Mutamangira, Lawrence Cleminson, Irvine Nduwa, Brian Makamure, Tolerance Zishe, Graham Cochran, Brian Nyaude, Witness Mandizha, Fortune Chipendo, Takudzwa Mandiwanza, Connor Pritchard, Biselele Tshamala, Osborne Muhambi

Backs: Hilton Mudariki, Makwanya, Lenience Tambwera, Daniel Capsopoulos, Boyd Rouse, Ngoni Chibuwe, Stephan Hunduza, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Tadius Hwata, Tarisai Mugariri


Africa Cup (World Cup Qualifiers): SCHEDULE

1. Zimbabwe Sables v Senegal
Venue: Dakar Senegal
Date: 24 June 2017
Camp starts 17 June

2. Zimbabwe Sables v Namibia
Venue: Windhoek
Date: 15 July
Camp starts 8 July

3. Zimbabwe Sables v Kenya
Venue: Hartsfield Grounds, Bulawayo
Date: 22 July
Camp starts 17 July

4. Zimbabwe Sables v Tunisia
Venue: Harare
Date:29 July
Camp starts 25 July

5. Zimbabwe Sables v Uganda 
Venue: Kyadondo Stadium, Kampala
Date: 5 August
Camp starts 1 August

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