The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international rugby player, Shayne Makombe is weighing his options after his contract was terminated by French side, Rugby Club Compiegne due to the coronavirus (Covid-19).
Makombe and other Compiegne players had their contracts terminated because the club was struggling financially with France besieged by the Covid-19. Their team plays in a league that is three ranks down from France’s top competition the Top 14.
The 28-year-old Makombe has been playing rugby in France since 2017. France is one of the hardest hit countries by the pandemic with confirmed cases in that country exceeding 120 000 with over 13 000 dead so far.
“It’s catastrophic out here, lots of people are dying. We’ve been in isolation for four weeks now and we are only allowed to go out for essentials. Our season and contracts are over for 2019/20. My contract was set to run out end of June,’’ Makombe said.
Compiegne were hit hard in the pocket since they cannot get any revenue from gate takings. The club had played 15 out of 22 of their matches with the season meant to have been over at the end of June.
“Financially the club is set to run enormous losses from stadium match day income and last week they nullified all contracts.”
At the beginning, Makombe, who has represented Zimbabwe in Sevens and Fifteens said they thought the situation would get better in no time until it got to a point where there was mayhem, panic buying and restrictions on movement came in. Makombe gave a glimpse of how life is under isolation since he is confined to his residence, which is hard for someone whose social circle was made up of friends and teammates.
“It has been very difficult to adapt to life without proper training and all the social life and being confined to my house for the majority of the time by myself. I was heavily dependent on my friends and team mates for social life away from home and that luxury is gone but you understand there’s a bigger picture which prioritises everyone’s health and the quicker you adhere to the rules the sooner we get our usual lives back,” Makombe said.
Covid-19 has afforded Makombe an opportunity to look at his future plans, with the player looking to renegotiate his contract for next season while looking to also represent Zimbabwe in Sevens and Fifteens.
Makombe is in constant touch with his club officials to find the best possible way to get compensation for the months that were left on his contract.
Makombe graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Psychology and Business Management from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) in 2017. He has made use of that qualification in South Africa and France. For now, Makombe is still weighing his options since there are offers from other clubs in France, with the player to make a decision once the world has won the war against the pandemic. He went to Churchill Boys High School in Harare and also played for Harare Sports Club.