Lady Cheetahs seek winning start

Margaret Magwaro

The Zimbabwe women’s Sevens Rugby team, the Lady Cheetahs, are confident of a winning start when they face hosts Lesotho in their opening match at the Africa Cup Sevens pre-qualifying tournament in Maseru today.

They are one of the favourites to win the regional tournament, which will take place over the weekend with Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and the hosts, Lesotho also taking part.

Lady Cheetahs coach Derick Chiwara said the competition won’t be that easy, but staying focused and executing their game plan was the only way to go.

“We don’t know much about Lesotho which makes it a tricky assignment. We just have to trust the process and stick to our playbook,” he said.

“I believe as a team, we have put in the work. It’s now up to us to remain composed, focused and disciplined.”

Team captain Margaret Magwaro, who has also played for the national basketball team believes that each game must be taken seriously so as to finish the tournament on top spot.

“Countries have had at least two years of hard preparation or slacking. COVID-19 affected everyone, so you never know what they have in store for us. So for each game, we will give it our all, respect each team, but bearing in mind that we have no option to come back home without a trophy,” she said.

“We left Zimbabwe and we were told it’s hot and clear in Maseru. As soon as we landed, it poured, which showed that the good spirit followed us to Maseru. So far, a team of eight players and two technical, that is, the manager and the head coach, arrived yesterday (Thursday) and the rest of the squad will arrive late afternoon today (yesterday).”

She added: “The mood as a team is positive as there is no room for individual differences. We came as a family with a teamwork goal, so we focus on that. Our training time slot is 3pm to 3:30pm, but we have been doing mobility exercises and stretches as we go.”

The tournament will act as the qualifiers for the Commonwealth Games and forms part of the qualifying process for the Rugby World Cup Sevens that will be hosted by South Africa.

Zimbabwe squad

Peace Sithole, Margaret Magwaro, Lindiwe Munerenyu, Samantha Chirongoma, Precious Chirinda, Chioniso Mabika, Robyn Mhembere, Rumbidzai Chigumbu, Delight Mukomondo, Caroline Malenga, Precious Marange, Gladys Mukome.

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