AFTER enjoying successful stints in South Africa and Spain, Zimbabwe rugby international Ngoni Chibuwe is relishing the next step of his promising career after sealing a move to Romanian SupaLiga side Asociatia Club Sportiv Tomitanii Constanța.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 23-year-old rampaging centre, who has several caps for the Sables while also being a key member of the national Sevens side (the Cheetahs), makes the move to Romania after spending the last four months at Spanish club Getxo Errugbia.
Chibuwe says he is itching to get going in the Romanian top-flight, which he believes is a step higher than the Spanish league.
“I really enjoyed my time in Spain and had established myself as a key player at Getxo, scoring a lot of tries, but I’m looking forward to this new challenge in a more competitive and professional league in Romania,” Chibuwe told Standardsport in an interview yesterday.
“The SupaLiga is obviously a step up from Spain and that was always my goal from the beginning to use Spain as a stepping stone to a higher level. That will be the same goal again in Romania to keeping working hard, challenging myself to get better and moving forward to bigger challenges,” he said.
The Mutare-born and bred star said his move to Romania would also allow him to continue pursuing his international rugby career, something he would not have been able to do if he had remained in Spain.
“One of the main reasons why I decided to leave Getxo was the club’s unwillingness to release me for international duty. My club was not happy with me missing games while on national duty during the Dubai and Cape Town legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series. I was not happy with that because they had not highlighted that in our contract, so in the end we then agreed to part ways.”
Chibuwe, who leaves the country for his new base on Thursday, becomes the latest Zimbabwean to ply his trade in Romania after former Sables and Cheetahs winger Gerald Sibanda.
Sibanda joined Dinamo Bucharest in August 2017 on a one-year deal, but was forced to leave the country at the beginning of last year after going unpaid for three months.
Chibuwe will be hoping for a better experience at Asociatia Club Sportiv Tomitanii Constanța, who are currently enjoying a promising debut season in the SuperLiga after their promotion to the top tier during the 2017-2018 season.
Affectionately known as “Stoney” in rugby circles, Chibuwe, who hails from Mutare’s high-density suburb of Dangamvura, attended Mutare Boys’ High School and later Hillcrest College before moving to South Africa to join the Shark Academy side.
His professional rugby career, however, set off in 2015 after being drafted into the Sharks Sevens side.
In the same year, he received his first Sables cap after being drafted into the squad for the Hong Kong Cup of Nations tournament and his career has been on an upward trajectory ever since as he went on to make to make the Sharks’ squad for the 2017 Currie Cup qualifiers.
Chibuwe has also recently established himself as a key member of the Cheetahs squad playing a key role in the World Cup qualifiers before featuring in almost all the team’s matches at the global showpiece.
The 183cm and 100kg player has recently featured for Old Georgians locally and South African club Durban Collegians, who currently compete in the Kwazulu-Natal Rugby Union League.
Chibuwe is also involved in the development of rugby in his home town of Mutare after launching his rugby academy, Hearts of Stones, in 2017.