The Zimbabwe Women’s Sevens rugby team finished fourth at the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) South/East African Women’s Championships at the University of Botswana Stadium in Gaborone, this weekend, to qualify for the 2013 Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Morocco early next year.
The Pangolins needed to finish in the top four in the eight-team tournament and they achieved that despite losing 17-0 to Kenya in a third and fourth-place play-off on Sunday to finish below eventual winners South Africa, finalists Uganda and the Kenyans.
Coach Abigail Govere and her charges got their campaign off to an ideal start with a 40-0 win over Rwanda before they were brought down to earth by South Africa who beat them 37-5 in their second match.
This left Zimbabwe needing nothing short of a victory in their final pool match against Zambia. They duly obliged with a hard-fought 19-12 victory that saw them qualify for the main cup semi-finals.
With a place in the final beckoning, the Pangolins narrowly went down 7-0 to the Ugandans who marched on to the final while Zimbabwe had to battle for third place with Kenya, who had also lost their semi-final match against South Africa 10 -7.
South Africa, part of the last World Cup in Dubai two years ago, were crowned the eventual winners after thumping Uganda 40-5 to emerge champions.
Aisha Tsimba, the Zimbabwe Women’s Rugby president, who was the head of delegation in Botswana, said the two finalists plus Zimbabwe and Kenya proceed to meet the winners from the North Zone to determine which two African countries will represent the continent at the next Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“Yesterday (Sunday) we played Uganda in the semi-finals and lost 7-0. It was a very close game, in which both teams put up a good show.
“It meant that we met Kenya in the fight for third and fourth position — of which we also unfortunately lost 17-0. The final was between South Africa and Uganda, in which South Africa, clearly the best team of the tournament, won.
“All hope was, however, not lost for Zimbabwe, as we still managed to qualify for the World Cup qualifiers in Morocco next year, where the top four teams from the south (Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda and Kenya) will meet the top four teams from the north,” said Tsimba in an interview with NewsDay Sport.
1 South Africa