Lady Cheetahs cry foul

The Lady Cheetahs lost all their Pool A matches against neighbours South Africa, Uganda and hosts Tunisia to crash out of the race to Paris.

THE Zimbabwe Women Sevens’ team are bitter over their treatment by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union as they are yet to receive a single cent for their participation at the Africa Rugby Sevens 2024 Olympics Qualifier in Tunisia mid-October. 

The Lady Cheetahs lost all their Pool A matches against neighbours South Africa, Uganda and hosts Tunisia to crash out of the race to Paris.

Their struggles were, however, well documented as they went through shoddy preparations with training sessions affected by financial struggles.

Players struggled for transport to training sessions until the Sports ministry chipped in at the last minute through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

“We didn’t receive even a cent after the Tunisia tournament. The union said they were expecting to get money from SRC, but up to now, nothing has come through. It’s very unfortunate because it seems as if the girl child is not important,” a player confided to NewsDay Sport.

“We are not sure if it’s the union that’s not pushing or it’s the government that is not interested. The union should also play their part rather than just waiting for the government. We left work while others left school to represent our country but we are not appreciated.”

ZRU vice-president North Losson Mtongwiza, who is in charge of Sevens rugby, said they were hopeful the ministry would release the funds to the association anytime soon.

“The ministry is actually assisting us in that regard and they are yet to release the funds for the ladies. The money generally takes a bit long to come. You will recall that the Gems who participated at the World Cup between July 28 and August 6 only got their money about two months ago which was about three months later,” he said.

“It’s just delays, we are not in control of and we are hoping their delay is not going to be that long. We were lucky that for the boys it was not that long for their Olympic qualifiers, the money came in after about a month. I’m hoping for the ladies the money comes through at least before Christmas.

“We speak to the ladies through their management and we are sure this message has been relayed to the girls, they haven’t been forgotten, and it’s a delay I would say and not a denial.”

Meanwhile, across east Africa, Uganda’s Lady Cranes are set to sign one-year performance based contracts following their recent heroics in the Kenya Safari Sevens.

The Lady Cranes became the first Ugandan side to win the Kenya Safari Sevens in the tournament’s 26-year history.

Uganda Rugby Union chairperson, Godwin Kayangwe said the move aims to align the ladies game with their male counterparts.

“Of course it’s a significant thing as they have been lagging. Once you sort out the welfare of players and technical team now has to step up and demand that players deliver,” Kayangwe said.

“They asked for money and we are giving them that. They have been getting an allowance, now it’s more.”

Related Topics