THE Zimbabwe International Sevens tournament, which had in the last three years become one of the major highlights on the local rugby calendar, attracting top teams such as Hong Kong, Russia and South Africa, will not take place this year due to lack of sponsorship.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) had initially planned to host the fifth edition of the tournament early next month to help the national Sevens side, the Cheetahs prepare for the Hong Kong leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series.
However, the Danny Hondo-coached side, which last tasted international competition at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in December now look set to head to Hong Kong without any competitive match practice after the cancellation of this year’s tournament.
The Cheetahs will take part in the 12-team qualifier at the Hong Kong Sevens from March 27-29 where the winner will earn core team status for next season.
Zimbabwe Sevens Committee chairman Donald Mangenje told NewsDay Sport yesterday that lack of funding had forced them to cancel this year’s edition of the tournament.
“I can confirm that the international Sevens tournament will not be held this year due to lack of adequate funding. As you will recall towards the end of last year we hosted the Africa Sevens Cup. We struggled to host that tournament due to lack of funds. We are basically milking the same cow and at this stage we haven’t managed to raise the funds needed for us to host the international tournament,” he said.
Mangenje, however, allayed fears that the Cheetahs would go to Hong Kong without adequate preparations, saying the domestic Summer Sevens Series would go ahead starting at the end of this month.
“We are putting all our efforts to ensure the Cheetahs have the adequate preparations before they go to Hong Kong. We are going to have the Summer Sevens Series on February 21, 28 and March 7 and there are also plans to organise a training camp for the team outside the country,” he said.