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Mavesere joins Sharks



ALMOST three years after parting ways with Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira following his retirement, South African rugby giants Sharks are set to continue their love affair with Zimbabwean players after signing Sables rising star Tinotenda Blithe Mavesere on a two-year contract.

The move will see Mavesere who, like Mtawarira, also attended Churchill High School in Harare, soon rubbing shoulders with some of South Africa’s top players, including the World Cup winning Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, who joined the Durban Rugby Union side Sharks early this year.

The 22-year-old Zimbabwe international loose-forward is currently one of the brightest prospects in South African rugby after his stellar individual performances for the University of Western Cape (UWC) in the 2021 Varsity Cup campaign.

In fact, Mavesere has been on the radar of several South African provincial rugby unions after his standout performances this season, with several top provincial unions such as the Bulls, Cheetahs, Western Province and the Sharks all interested in his signature.

Mavesere’s representatives, F7 Sports Management, who are led by the Cape Town-based sports journalist-cum-player agent, Shafiek Mouton, finally ended speculation surrounding his future yesterday after confirming that he has agreed to join Sharks.

The Zimbabwean star, who is currently in camp with the Sables ahead of next month’s Africa Cup, will join his new side next month and could make his first appearance in this season’s Currie Cup.

“We are delighted to  announce that loose forward Tinotenda Mavesere (22) has signed a two-year contract with the Sharks. Tino recently joined the F7 team after (his) sterling performances in the Varsity Cup for UWC. The Driller, as he is affectionately known, is currently on international duty with the Zimbabwe Sables, but will join up with the Sharks next month,” F7 Sports Management said in a statement.

Sables team manager Jason Maritz, who first had the opportunity to work with Mavesere during the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy’s participation in the SuperSport Challenge in South Africa, credited the player’s success to discipline, hard work and dedication.

“We are obviously very happy for him. He has come a long way since joining us in the SuperSport Challenge in 2019 as a young kid that showed a lot of promise. But in all honesty, all credit to Blithe himself he has taken every opportunity that has been given to him. He has worked hard and trained hard. He has stuck to his guns to reach his dreams, it just boils down to his mindset and his attitude and all credit to him,” Maritz said.

The former Zimbabwe youth international believes Mavesere’s breakthrough move to the Sharks shows that there is abundant talent in the country and the Sables will continue to provide a platform for players to showcase their skills to the world.

“We are grateful to the Sharks for giving him the opportunity, but we also want the world to know there is just not one Blithe (in Zimbabwe). We have got plenty of them within our team and plenty of youngsters that are coming through the ranks that deserve the opportunity.”

He added: “We are hoping that through the Sables and through more tournaments and games that we play we will be able to showcase this talent to the world and the world can appreciate that there are players coming from Zimbabwe and can give them the opportunity they just deserve.”

Mavesere’s move to the Sharks comes at a time he has been riding on the crest of a wave after recently being recognised for his sterling performances in the Varsity Cup this season by being voted the 2021 Varsity Cup Forward that Rocks and runner-up in the Overall Player that Rocks.

The former Churchill High School star, who is studying for a bachelor of arts, started in seven of UWC’s nine matches in the Varsity Cup — scoring seven tries and taking home a couple of Player that Rocks awards.

Mavesere is one of the three UWC players who have signed professional contracts to play rugby at higher levels together with scrumhalf Branden de Kock, who will be joining the Cheetahs on a 12-month contract and centre André Manuel will be on the books of the Boland provincial side.

UWC head coach Paul Treu congratulated the trio for putting the university’s rugby programme in the limelight.

“This is great news for us and it recognises our programme and what we are trying to achieve. And obviously their studies are going to be important and we will see how they are going to accommodate that. Those players, together with a few others, really deserve to get call-ups to play in the Currie Cup or to be part of provincial teams. And we are excited to see them play at those levels this year,” said the former South Africa rugby sevens national team coach.

  • Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielnhakaniso

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