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Mashawi named Cheetahs skipper



HARARE Sports Club centre-back Kudzai Mashawi has been named captain of Zimbabwe’s rugby Sevens team, the Cheetahs ahead of their participation in the Safari Sevens tournament in Nairobi, Kenya, this weekend.

The 28-year-old Churchill School alumni takes over the captaincy duties from South Africa-based Boyd Rouse, who led the Cheetahs in their last international assignment at the World Rugby Sevens Olympic Repechage tournament in Monaco four months ago.

Mashawi is one of the most experienced players in the new-look Cheetahs squad dominated by rookies who are yet to make an appearance on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The other seasoned players in the squad are Shingirai Katsvere and Brendon Boshi.

Exciting former Sables utility back Jeremiah Jaravaza is one of the three uncapped players named in the side together with Old Hararians’ former Eaglesvale speedster Ganizani Chiku and Old Georgians forward Vuyani Dhlomo.

The Mutare Sports Club twin brothers Munopa and Munesu Muneta have retained their places in the squad after impressing on their debuts in Monaco.

The Cheetahs are among 16 teams that have confirmed their participation at the Safari Sevens tournament which is making its return this year after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 24th edition of the Safari Sevens will be held this weekend at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya with Zimbabwe among the five international teams in the star-studded field alongside hosts Kenya, Uganda, Spain and Germany.

Other teams that will take part in the two-day rugby extravaganza include South Africa Sevens Academy, former champions Samurai, Red Wailers, Stallion Sevens of Nigeria, KCB, Kenya Under-20, Shujaa and defending champions Kenya Morans.

The Cheetahs are regular participants in the Safari Sevens since the inaugural edition where they finished as runner-ups in 1996.

Zimbabwe, who also finished second in 2006 and 2007, will be using the tournament as preparation for the Africa Men’s Sevens later this year.

After former captain Danny Hondo stepped down as head coach of the side after the Olympic repechage tournament in Monaco, the team will be led by another former Cheetahs star Graham Kaulback.

In the women’s category, the Zimbabwe women’s rugby Sevens side will be joined by South Africa Select, Uganda, Kenya Lionesses 1 and Kenya Lionesses 2.

Cheetahs Squad: Kudzai Mashawi (captain) Godfrey Magaramombe, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Vuyani Dhlomo, Jerry Jaravaza, Ryan Musumhi, Munesu Muneta, Munopa Muneta, Prince Ncube, Shingirai Katsvere, Brandon Boshi, Ganizani Chiku

Head coach: Graham Kaulback

Assistant coach/team manager: Tafadzwa Mhende

Physiotherapist: Maggie Gibson

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