SABLES coach Cyprian Mandenge says he was satisfied with his side’s performance despite losing all their matches at the ongoing Windhoek Lager Tri-Nations in Namibia.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA SPORTS REPORTER
The Sables team, the reigning African champions, narrowly lost to hosts Namibia 37-33 in their opening match on Saturday before falling 47-14 to Spain in the second and final match on Wednesday night. The team was expected home this morning.
In his assessment of the tournament, Mandenge who was holding fort in the absence of Brendan Dawson, who could not travel due to family commitments, said the participation was worthwhile as a lot of fringe players were given an opportunity to play.
“Those were very bad results, but it was a good experience especially for some of our players who were making their debut at the international level,” said Mandenge from Namibia yesterday.
“With most of our regular players unavailable, we managed to raise a competitive team which only shows that our future is bright. We benefited a lot in terms of development. We need to play more of these matches when we prepare for forthcoming big tournaments.”
Apart from Dawson, the Sables team travelled without regular players such as Tatenda Karuru, Brian Makamure, Graham Kaulback, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, John MacWade, Justine Coles and Jakov Jakov, who were part of the triumphant Sables squad in Tunisia early this year, due to examination commitments and injuries.
The Scotland-based duo of Denford Mutamangira and Shingi Mpofu could not be released by their clubs, while Tommy Nelson and Ross Anderson missed the trip due to similar reasons.
In their absence, players like Fidel Nyabusha, Tino Chikobvu, Samson Makuku, Japhet Ndebele and Stephen Machisa got their first national caps in the match against Spain.