ZIMBABWE Sevens rugby team speed merchant, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, is confident the Cheetahs will rise to the challenge and book their ticket to the Rio Olympic Games at the continental qualifier starting at the Barnard Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 25-year-old Chitokwindo has already established himself as a key member of the Cheetahs squad since making his debut in 2011 and will be one of the key players for Zimbabwe in the two-day tournament.
“The guys are in great spirits and everyone seems to be hyped up for the weekend,” he told NewsDay Sport yesterday.
“With the squad that has been assembled and the level we have been playing our Sevens, it’s only a matter of putting both our hearts and heads in the goal.
“As far as the preparations are concerned, I believe we have prepared as best as we could have hoped. We managed to have our four-day camp at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, which has world class facilities. The boys couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Cheetahs coach, Danny Hondo, yesterday named his final 12-man squad for the Olympic qualifiers, featuring the returning duo of Cape Town-based Tapiwa Tsomondo and Germany-based Manasah Sita.
The trio of Kuda Chiwanza, Mkhululi Ndlela and Takudzwa Francisco were dropped, while Biselele Tshamala is already in Hong Kong ahead of the Sables Cup of Nations campaign.
Veteran Jacques Leitao will captain the side, in the absence of Hilton Mudariki, who misses out due to an injury suffered at the Safari Sevens recently.
With African powerhouse South Africa booking their spot after finishing second to Fiji in last season’s HSBC World Sevens Series, the battle in 2016 will be between Kenya and the Zimbabwean team, with Namibia coming in as the underdogs.
Pool A headed by top seed Kenya, along with Madagascar, Senegal and Mauritius, while the Cheetahs will line up against Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria in Pool B.
Pool C has North African rivals Tunisia and Morocco together with Namibia and Botswana.
Cheetahs final squad: Jacques Leitao (captain), Boyd Rouse, Shayne Makombe, Njabulo Ndlovu, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Stephan Hunduza, Graham Kaulback, Lenience Tambwera, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Kilvan Magunje, Manasah Sita, Rian O’Neill