CHEETAHS’ centre Daniel Hondo is in a fitness race ahead of the Sevens World Cup that is on in Russia at the end of the month.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
The Cheetahs, as the Zimbabwe Sevens team is known, are caged in Pool C together with Samoa, the Philippines and Kenya for the tournament that runs from June 28-30.
Hondo, who sustained an ankle injury in the Sables’ trials two weeks ago, is in the 21-member squad that goes into camp tomorrow to prepare for the tournament.
The Harare Sports Club captain told Standardsport that he is feeling much better and is hopeful of being fit by the time the tournament starts.
“It was difficult a few days ago because I was struggling to walk. I am feeling much better now, I am actually looking forward to the camp on Monday [tomorrow],” he said.
The team’s manager Bruce Hobson said Hondo has started light training and they are not going to rush him into playing.
“We have called up 21 players into camp and Hondo is one of them. He is recovering from an injury and I am glad he has started some light training,” he said.
Hobson said most of the foreign-based players — except for Manasah Sita and Wesley Mbanje — were already in the country.
“We have been preparing for this tournament since January and we hope to do well. Most players are already in the country and we are expecting Manasah and Mbanje to arrive on Monday,” he said.
He added that former Cheetahs coach Liam Middleton, who recently parted ways with English Championship side Bristol RFC, is expected in the country today to help with the preparations.
“Middleton is arriving on Sunday [today] and will work with the team’s head coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba. Our target is a good performance in our first game as that would give us confidence,” he said.
Zimbabwe go into the Sevens World Cup finals at the back of having failed to attain core status at the Marriot London Sevens Series where they lost 26-7 to Russia in the qualifier quarter finals.
Playing in Pool C, Zimbabwe beat Hong Kong 12-7 in their opening game before losing 21-14 to Scotland.
The Cheetahs then bounced to winning ways following a 19-14 victory over Georgia.
Cheetah’s Sevens World Cup squad:
Fortune Chipendo, Jacques Leitao, Njabulo Ndlovu, Mike Morris, Justin Coles, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Lucky Sithole, Japhet Ndebele, Tonderai Chigumbura, Bouyed Rouse, Shane Makombe, Andrew Rose, Tangai Nemadire, Kilvan Magunje, Danny Hondo, Gardner Nechironga, Wesley Mbanje, Garth Ziegler, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Steven Hunduza, Manasah Sita.