The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda in Harare
IT was a perfect start for the Zimbabwe national sevens rugby team at the Kwese Invitational Sevens where they won all the three matches they played at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The Gilbert Nyamutsamba-coached Cheetahs played two pool matches and then engaged Malawi in a friendly match. With Lesotho not pitching up for the tournament, Zimbabwe had to take on Malawi to ensure that the Cheetahs played three matches on the day.
First up for the Cheetahs was a fixture against the Spartans of Botswana with Zimbabwe easing to a 30-0 triumph. The encounter with Zambia proved to be a tough affair at the start before Zimbabwe thumped their northern neighbours 36-12.
Heading into the break, the two teams were tied at 12-12 but the Cheetahs put up a rampant show which saw them score 24 points and denied the Zambians any scoring opportunities.
Brandon Mandivenga, Biselele Tshamala, skipper Stephan Hunduza, Boyd Rouse, Shingirai Katsvere and Takudzwa Kumadiro were some of the outstanding players for the Cheetahs in the win over Zambia.
Nyamutsamba felt that his team had a relatively excellent day and was delighted to have beaten the Zambians, with the hope that they will continue with the same display today when the tournament heads into the knock-out stages.
“We had a fairly good day, its always good to play at your best the last game of day one, its good to finish on a good note, hopefully if we can start where we have left off today, we can start like that tomorrow,’’ Nyamutsamba said.
He conceded that Zambia were difficult opponents to face and was delighted that his players stuck to the team’s strategy which saw them walk away with the win.
“Zambia have always been a good team, it was never going to be easy, and it showed exactly how tough the game was going to be the way it went in the first half. I am happy that my boys kept their composure and managed to go through our game plans, that helped us to get a win at the end the day,’’ he said.
He was really impressed by the way unbeaten men’s team at the tournament, Georgia are playing and is eager to meet them in the final of the tournament today. Georgia defeated Mbare Academy 34-0, thumped Malawi 55-0 and saw off the Goshawks 26-5.
“Some exciting rugby, in particular the Georgians, they are playing some good rugby, the very kind of rugby that we would like to see and play against and I am hoping that we do get to play them and to meet them in the final , I am sure that would be a good game,’’ he said.
It was also a good day on the park for the Abigail Kawonza-coached Lady Cheetahs who won all the three matches they played. Zambia were the next best women’s team followed by Zimbabwe A while Zimbabwe Southern Sevens finished bottom of the pile having lost all the three matches they played.
The tournaments heads into the second and final day today with the knock-out stages all the way to the final to be played. A new champion will be crowned for the men since Kenya, winners of this tournament when it took place in Victoria Falls in 2018 are not taking part in this year’s edition.