The Zimbabwe Sevens rugby side, the Cheetahs, return to competitive action this weekend when they take part at the Middleburg Sevens in Mpumalanga Province in South Africa.
The Cheetahs will be using the tournament to prepare for the International Rugby Ball World Sevens Series circuit in Dubai and George, South Africa, in December.
This is the first time the Cheetahs have assembled for a competitive tournament since winning both the Confederation of African Rugby tournament and 12th Castle Sevens International tournament in Lusaka in August.
Cheetahs assistant coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba will take charge of the team in the absence of UK-based Liam Middleton while Bruce Hobson is the team manager.
Hobson told NewsDay Sport that although the team had not gone into camp, preparations had gone very well ahead of tomorrow’s departure.
“This time we haven’t gone into camp as we have a number of players, but the locally-based players have been working very hard since the conclusion of the league programme.
“As for the South Africa-based players, they have been active for their clubs and we will link up with them in South Africa. But Manase Sita and Gardner Nechironga, who are both based in Germany, are unavailable. Justin Coles will not be taking part as he is now based in the UK where he was awarded a scholarship at Hartpury College,” said Hobson.
Led by skipper Jacques Leitao, the Cheetahs will be the third national side in the tournament which will also feature the Springboks Sevens, team affectionately known as the Blittzbokke, Botswana and Namibia. South African provincial sides like Pumas, Border, Sharks and Free State will also take part in the tournament.
The locally-based players such as Leitao, Fortune Chipendu, Lloyd Machanjaire, Mike Morris, Njabulo Ndlovu and Daniel Hondo, Kuda Chiwanza and Kelvin Magunje have been in intensive training at Old Georgians since the end of the XVs season.