The team will also miss the services of captain Jacques Leitao who has work and family commitments. In Leitao’s place is young Kilvan Magunje while Danny Hondo will captain the side.
The Cheetahs, as they are popularly known, were hoping to use Middleton’s experience at the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens Series that runs from May 5 -7, but the tournament clashes with the coach’s British team’s Championships semi-finals play-offs on May 7 against Cornish Pirates.
Middleton, a former Cheetahs head coach until his appointment as head coach at British Championship side, Bristol Rugby Club will however be available for the Marriot London Sevens Series slated for May 12 -13.
Team manager Bruce Hobson confirmed the non-availability of the highly experienced coach who holds a Rugby Football Union level four certificate.
“Middleton is our director of coaching and we were hoping to use his experience at this series, but he is committed to his club. As you know his club Bristol is involved in the RFU Championship semi-finals playoffs. So at the moment he cannot be with us because he is busy.
“I am always in touch with him and he assured me that he will give us the technical advice at the London Series to be held a week after the Scotland Series. We still have our head coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba,” he said.
Despite missing Leitao, the team will not be short of experience as there is Fortune Chuipendu, Gardner Nechironga and Manasa Sita.
For the Scotland leg of the Sevens Series, Zimbabwe are caged in a tough Pool C comprising Hong Kong Series Champions Fiji, Argentina and Portugal who recently got core status.
“We have to do well at these two tournaments and the preparations are going ahead as planned. We are still targeting at getting core status when we are afforded another chance,” he said.
Zimbabwe bowed out at the quarterfinal qualifier at the Hong Kong Series after losing to Portugal.
Zimbabwe’s opening match in Scotland will be against Fiji before engaging Argentina. Their last pool game will be against Portugal.
Squad: K Magunje, D Hondo (c), F Chipendu, J Coles, N Ndlovu, M Sita, M Morris, T Nemadire, G Colbeck, G Sibanda, W Mbanje, and G Nechironga.