AFTER dedicating the last decade to Zimbabwean rugby, Manasah Sita is relishing the next chapter in his career after announcing plans to switch allegiance to Germany with the ultimate goal of representing his adopted nation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 32-year-old speedster, who scored 17 tries in 28 appearances for Zimbabwe on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit until his last call-up in 2016, will become eligible to represent Germany in international tournaments in June next year.
Players who have represented one country’s national 15-a-side team, next 15-a-side team or senior sevens team have the chance to switch allegiance to another nation, provided they have a passport for the second country and have completed a stand-down period of three years.
Sita has been resident in the European nation for the last decade and last featured for Zimbabwe at the World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier at the Hong Kong Sevens in April 2016.
The former Mbare High School student, who is currently playing for Sports Club Neuenheim in Germany, confirmed the recent approach by the German Rugby Federation (DRV) and his desire to take a new turn with the ambitious European side.
“Well, it’s true, they (DRV) are interested in my services with the goal of qualifying for the Olympics in 2020. It’s always the dream of every player to be an Olympian and Germany have a big chance of making it. Since my chances of making it with Zimbabwe look to be over as I have not been selected for some time, I’m definitely going to take this opportunity,” Sita told Standardsport in an exclusive interview yesterday.
Sita, who has established himself as one of the best players in the Rugby-Bundesliga since his arrival a decade ago, said he now had a strong connection with his adopted nation having already established deep roots in that country through his young family.
“Well, I’ve been living in Germany for about 10 years now. The coaches here see me playing week in week out, so for them it was easy to make this call because they see our games all the time,” he said.
“I believe I have a strong connection with Germany. I got kids here and my wife is German, so my family is here now and as a father I would love to see them be come adults.”
Sita, who was part of the side which narrowly missed out on the automatic ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to Kenya in 2016, said he felt he still had a lot to offer to Zimbabwe, but he had no hard feelings over his non-selection over the last two years.
“Well, I really enjoyed every call-up that I got for Zimbabwe and for sure I thought I still had more to offer, but at the end coaches decide who they want to pick, which is something I understand and respect. It was obviously not the end I imagined, but that’s sport and life goes on, my next focus now is Tokyo 2020 with Germany.”
Former South Africa star Vuyo Zangqa, who is now the Germany national Sevens coach, has been spearheading the campaign to naturalise Sita as he believes he will bring a wealth of experience to the European nation.
“Manasah will be eligible to play for us in official tournaments starting this summer,” Zangqa was quoted in the German media last week.
“He has lived in Germany for 10 years and has been training with us for a few weeks now. He has played in many major tournaments and at the World Series with the national team of Zimbabwe. So he brings with him a lot of experience that we’re sure will benefit us as a team.”
Last week, the former Old Hararians and Old Georgians utility player was named in one of the three select German sides to compete in the Dubai Sevens Invitational tournament, which they are using to prepare for the international season.
The tournament will run concurrently with the main Dubai Sevens tournament where Zimbabwe will be taking part as an invitational side following their Africa Cup triumph last month in Tunisia.