Sevens side steps up preps for Youth Olympics qualifiers

THE Zimbabwe Under-18 Sevens rugby team will step up their preparations for the continental qualifiers for this year’s 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games when they take part in the two day Capricorn Group Sevens Rugby Festival which starts today in Namibia.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

Zimbabwe, who this week named a strong squad made up of some of the country’s fledgling stars based locally and in neighbouring South Africa, will be joined at the two-day event by South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and hosts Namibia.

The youth side was given a stirring send-off at the Zimbabwe Rugby Union offices on Tuesday evening in a ceremony which was graced by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee chief executive officer, Anna Mguni.

ZRU were represented by its president Aaron Jani, vice-president (north) Losson Mtongwiza, acting chief executive officer Sifiso Made while former Cheetahs player Kuda Chiwanza was present as guest of honour.

The Zimbabwe team which has seven local based players and five South Africa-based rising stars, will be coached by 28 year-old South Africa-based former Zimbabwe and University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN) player Ricky Chirengende.

Chirengende, who coaches at Maritzburg College in KwaZulu-Natal, has been working with the South Africa-based players while Kyros Sports director of the athletics division Nyasha Muchochomi, who is the team manager, has been taking the locally-based players through their paces.

The Capricorn Group Sevens Rugby Festival will be Zimbabwe’s first opportunity to test themselves against quality opposition before their participation in the second edition of the African Youth Games which will be held in Algiers, Algeria, from July17 to 27.

Zimbabwe will battle it out against team’s from the hosts Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia for Africa’s sole automatic ticket to the Youth Olympic Games.

The Young Cheetahs won a bronze medal at the last edition of the African Youth Games held in Gaborone, Botswana four years ago.

Zimbabwe Under-18 Sevens Team:

Bradley Nenzou, Kuzivakwashe Zvandaziva, Ronald Mirimi, Tinashe Hombiro, Tabonga Ngonyamo, MacMillian Mudara, Patrick Chavanga, Allan Mawande, Michael Mhute, Tafara Muzamindo, Simbarashe Kanyangarara, Ryan Mutandwa,

Coach: Ricky Chirengende

Team Manager: Taona-Nyasha Muchochomi

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