ZIMBABWE rugby selectors yesterday trimmed down the Sables squad to 26 players ahead of the Africa Cup clash against Kenya at Prince Edward School, Harare, on Saturday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The squad, which has been in camp since Saturday and is expected to be further reduced to the final 23, features six uncapped players.
Lock Antipas Kwamwindo, who has just returned home from Germany where he was playing club rugby for TV Pforzheim, was included in the squad together with front rowers Lawrence Cleminson and Tapfuma Parirenyatwa.
Other uncapped players in the squad are Harare Sports Club versatile back Teddy Whata, Old Georgians captain Kudzai Muzorewa and Old Hararians’ Tatenda Murwira.
South Africa-based wing Gardner Nechironga, former Sables skipper Cleopas Makotose and scrumhalf Charles Jiji all look poised for a return to the Sables starting XV after being included in the 26-man squad.
The selectors also included Old Georgians speedster Stephan Hunduza, who had looked doubtful for Saturday’s clash as he didn’t train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday and yesterday due to illness.
Sables coach Cyprian Mandenge, however, said the diminutive wing had been given the all clear by the team’s medical team.
“The only worry was Hunduza, he had fever-like symptoms and at one time it looked like malaria. He was examined by the doctor and fortunately he has been cleared to play and we have decided to rest him today (yesterday),” Mandenge said.
Harare Sports Club steely prop Denford Mutamangira will captain the side while flyhalf Tichafara Makwanya was confirmed as his deputy after yesterday’s afternoon session.
The 27-year-old Makwanya, who has 18 Sables caps, said he was happy with the faith shown in him by the coach and was looking forward to Saturday’s match.
“I was a bit surprised, but it shows the coach believes in me. It’s been a while since I’ve played for the Sables, the last couple of years I’ve been in and out of the squad. It’s good to be back, but I need to play well. We go into every game to win, but it’s always up to the performances on the day. We need to keep our composure and play to our strengths which are superior ball skills and the pace and strength we have in contact areas,” said Makwanya.
Forwards: Fortune Chipendo, Lawrence Cleminson, Pieter Joubert, Shingai Mpofu, Farai Mudariki, Tatenda Murwira, Denford Mutamangira (Captain), Royal Mwale, Tapfuma Parirenyatwa, Andrew Rose, Sanile Sibanda, Biselele Tshamala, Kudzai Muzorewa, Kingsley Lang
Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Stephan Hunduza, Teddy Hwata, Charles Jiji, Antipas Kamkwindo, Cleopas Makotose, Tichafara Makwanya (Vice captain), Gardner Nechironga, Tangai Nemadire, Riaan O’Neil, Lenience Tambwera, Boyd Rouse