The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE being removed from United Kingdom’s red list in terms of Covid-19 travel guidelines as from tomorrow will not only come as a relief for the country’s national football team but also for their rugby counterparts.
The country’s football team, the Warriors will be the first beneficiaries of the development as Norman Mapeza will have Marvelous Nakamba, Tendayi Darikwa, Jordan Zemura and Brendan Galloway when Zimbabwe face Ghana in a 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday.
Before Zimbabwe were removed, the players would have been required to go into self-isolation upon arrival in the UK had they made the journey to the Southern African country.
This saw the players skip Zimbabwe’s two matches, at home against South Africa and the away encounter with Ethiopia.
For the rugby team, coach Brendan Dawson can now plan for the quadrangular that will also feature Brazil, Kenya and Namibia with the UK based players in mind.
The four-team tournament will be played at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sports from the 12th to the 21st of November.
Matthew McNab, Sebastian Roche, Marcus Nel, Aiden Burnett, Sean Beevor are some of Sables players playing club rugby in the UK. Had Zimbabwe not been removed from the red list, these players would have been unable to come for the matches in South Africa because that country was also on UK’s red list before being removed last week.
The format of play will be semi-finals on the 14th and the finals on the 20th of November. Namibia will square off with Kenya with Zimbabwe taking on Brazil. Winners of the two matches will square off in the final while the losers square off in the third place play off.
Sables coach, Brendan Dawson will use the matches in South Africa to get his troops ready for next year’s Rugby Africa Cup. Zimbabwe face Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals and if they win, they might have Namibia waiting for them in the semis if the Namibians do make it past Burkina Faso in the last eight.
Winners of next year’s Rugby Africa Cup to be played in France will secure automatic qualification to the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be held in the European country while runners up from the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 will have to make do with a place in the final qualification tournament to make one final attempt to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023.
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