By Brain Murandu
ZIMBABWE national rugby sevens’ foreign-based duo of Neil Nortje in South Africa and Jeffrey Tigere from Germany are expected to jet into the country today and on Monday, respectively, as the locals intensify their preparations for Hong
Kong 2005 World Cup qualifiers set for Zambia at the end of the month.
Nortje and Tigere could be the only foreign-based professionals keen to help the Zimbabwe sevens’ cause after others snubbed a call-up into camp.
Bruce Hobson, the sevens manager, told IndependentSport that he would have liked all professionals to be available in camp as the squad prepares for next week’s Kenya Safari Sevens tour.
“It would have been nice to have all the professionals as experience is needed and optional choice in selection but (Germany-based) Costa Dinha sent me an e-mail just to say he won’t make it,” he said in a midweek interview at Old Georgians Sports Club where the squad is training.
Hobson, however, said they would utilise the experience acquired during the team’s European tour, which included a training camp in Britain and tournaments in the Netherlands and Spain last month.
“The good thing is that we’ve been training in Europe and will make use of the exposure we got there. In fact everything we’ve been doing like going to Europe was not just to go and see what the place is like there but to gain exposure and be technically taught to play proper sevens,” he said.
Other foreign-based players like Karl Mudzamba, currently in New Zealand, and South African-based Kennedy Tsimba have indicated that they might not be available for the Zimbabwean team.
But Hobson and player-coach John Ewing have resolved to work with available talent. They have called into camp Harare Sports Club fullback Sean De Souza, Old Hararians’ Tonderai Mapunde, Martin Mahwani of Mashonaland Country Districts, former Busters player Emmmanuel Munyoro and Moses Issa of Mabvuku.
Other players in camp include Western Panthers’ Silethokuhle “Ndaza” Ndlovu, Harare Sports Club’s Daniel Hondo, Augustine Mberi of Shabanie, Old Hararians’ Basil Dingiswayo, Allan Mdehwa, Zacks Tondoro and Donald Magenje and the Busters pair of veterans Arnold Takawira and Gilbert Nyamutsamba, the captain.