ZIMBABWE rugby team captain Denford Mutamangira has been handed a dream chance to impress at top South African side Sharks after being invited to train with the Durban-based rugby union franchise ahead of the upcoming Currie Cup competition next month.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The trial stint which was facilitated by a local sports management company, Kyros Sports, could see Mutamangira become the third Zimbabwean at Sharks after Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and wing Tendai Chavhanga.
The 31-year-old loosehead, who recently returned home after a two-year stint at Scottish Premiership side Ayr, left the country for Durban yesterday where he is expected to link up with the rest of the Sharks squad.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday, Mutamangira, who captained the Sables in their 28-20 Africa Cup win over Kenya on Saturday said he was hoping to make the most of the opportunity.
“It’s a huge honour to be given such an opportunity because the Sharks are one of the biggest rugby union franchises, not only in South Africa, but in the world,” Mutamangira said.
“I’m very grateful because the fact that they have invited me to be part of their training squad is a wonderful opportunity and I’m obviously hoping for the best. I have had the opportunity of playing at a professional level before with Ayr in Scotland and, although South African rugby is different, I hope that experience will be valuable for me,” he said.
Former Zimbabwe youth international Kisset Chirengende of Kyros Sports tipped Mutamangira to make the grade at Sharks adding that his trial stint was a step in the right direction for local rugby.
“This is a good story of Zimbabwe rugby and over the past year or so we have seen a change in the local landscape where quality youngsters like Riaan O’Neill, Farai Mudariki, and Lawrence Cleminson amongst others are committing to the Zimbabwe Sables early at the same time still attracting the attention of top quality clubs,” Chirengende said.
He added: “Mudariki is in the French Top 14 side Castres’ structure, O’Neill has just made the Sharks Under-21 Currie Cup squad, so it bodes well for Zim going forward and it all adds to our goal of qualifying for the World Cup in 2019. As for Denford,
he has been knocking hard for years and his consistent performances have got him this opportunity, so we are rooting for him to go all the way and nail a spot in the side.”