The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe national men’s rugby team, the Sables will not take to the field this year after efforts to secure fixtures hit a brick wall.
With Rugby Africa having called off the 2020 season, the SuperSport Rugby Challenge was also cancelled. This forced the Sables technical team to look elsewhere for fixtures.
A tour to Netherlands was planned for the end of October to early November. That had to be called off since Zimbabwe is not on the list of countries whose nationals are allowed to enter Netherlands due to coronavirus (Covid-19) control measures.
A plan to play two Test matches in Cape Town at the end of November to early December against whoever was available between Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana and Zambia were scrapped since the would-be opponents could not commit.
Jason Maritz, the Sables team manager said they have to cancel the camp they were planning in Cape Town since they could not find any challenger.
“Unfortunately, we have had to abandon our hopes for a camp and games versus Zambia in Cape Town as they have also unfortunately declined to participate sighting finance and player welfare. After approaching Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana and Zambia to get game time its left us with no willing opponent,’’ said Maritz.
He indicated that they have now shifted their attention to the 2021 season, with plans to have an intense preparation period before the team takes part in South Africa’s Currie Cup First Division as well as the Rugby Africa Cup.
“We are now going to focus our energy on the 2021 season and hope to have an extensive camp before our participation in the Currie Cup first division and Africa Cup.”
Meanwhile, the Sables have secured a sponsorship deal with Total Fitness Gym in Harare, arrangement which will see all players part of the national fifteens rugby team benefit from free training.
Ziad Kassam of Total Fitness said their desire was to ensure that all Sables players remained in shape so as to perform at their best for the country.
“As Total Fitness we will provide a platform for all the Zimbabwe Sables players to remain fit and stay focused and reach their full potential so that the players can perform at their optimum levels and the team can realise their goals of playing in the World Cup come 2023,’’ Kassam said.
Total Fitness will carry out scientific assessments and come up with exercises to meet individual needs of each player.
“We will do all the anthropometric measurements as determined by the Sables Strength and Conditioning coaches and design specific training programmes for each player to meet the demands of the coaching staff.”
Maritz, who worked behind the scenes to secure the sponsorship said players involved in the Sables set up only will have access to Total Fitness facilities at either Belvedere or Borrowdale. The players will be registered so as to access the Total fitness facilities.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union chief executive officer, Sifiso Made welcomed the sponsorship and said it came at the appropriate time as they were working tirelessly to ensure that everything is available for the Sables so that they can perform to the best of their abilities and hopefully qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be held in France. He appealed to other corporates to come on board to support the dream of 2023
World Cup for the Sables and the country.— @Mdawini_29