The Zimbabwe senior rugby side will be out for revenge when they take on Uganda in their first match in a Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Africa Cup Division 1B encounter in Kampala on Saturday.
The match kicks off at 1600hrs (1500hrs Zimbabwean time) and will take place at the Kyadondo Rugby Club.
On their last visit to Uganda in June last year, the Sables, who arrived in Uganda on Thursday, went down 24-15 in a Tri-Nations Victoria Cup encounter, a solid reminder that they have to be at their best to come out with a positive result against the Cranes.
In a telephone interview with NewsDay Sport from Uganda on Friday, Sables’ team manager Noddy Kanyangarara said he believed they had learnt from their mistakes from last year.
“One major factor we noticed from last year was the lack of fitness by the players and I think this time around the guys have had more time in camp and are therefore better prepared.
“We know what to expect from our opponents and I’m confident that with the quality of players we have and the experience they, have we will come out on top,” said Kanyangarara.
Zimbabwe cannot afford to lose on Saturday if they harbour any hopes of winning this tournament, which guarantees automatic promotion to Group 1A whose teams have the right to compete in the World Cup qualifiers.
Group 1A consists of Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco and Kenya in that order based on rankings and will play their tournament in Nairobi in November this year.
The last team in Group IA will be demoted to Group 1B next year.
After Saturday’s match, the Sables will only have two days to regroup before their second and final group match against Madagascar.
Four points will be awarded to the winners of the games while a team that scores four or more tries in the game will be awarded a further one bonus point.
If a team loses by seven or less points they will also be awarded one bonus point.
Kanyangarara added that unlike last year their hosts had provided them with decent accommodation, with the only worry being the hot and humid conditions in the East African nation.
“The hospitality by the hosts has been very good this time around although our only major worry has to do with the current weather conditions.
“At the moment it’s very hot and humid but I’m sure by tomorrow we would have had enough time to acclimatise.”
CAR Division 1B Fixtures
Sunday: Uganda v Zimbabwe
Wednesday: Zimbabwe v Madagascar
Saturday, June 18: Uganda v Madagascar
Forwards: N Mukondiwa (False Bay, SA), K Kambasha, D Mutamangira, R Dzvairo, S Makuku, J Goosen (all Harare Sports Club), D Esbach, P Joubert, M Coleman (all Old Georgians), J Ferreira, (Busters), P Chitenderu and C Dinha (Vice captain) (Old Hararians), F Chipendo (Primrose Rugby Club, SA), G Nechironga and N Ndlovu (Belhar Rugby Club, SA)
Backs: C Makotose (False Bay, SA), D Hondo, S Makombe, T Nemadire, P Machisa, S Mpofu (Harare Sports Club), D Bradshaw, D Robertson (all Old Georgians), T Makwanya (Old Hararians), L Machanjaire (Busters).
Technical team: Cyprian Mandenge (Coach), Noddy Kanyangarara (Manager), Farai Muguwe (Physiotherapist), Dumile Moyo (Head of Delegation).