Patrick Mushunje, Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS Rugby Club coach George Mukorera has expressed dismay on the way the senior rugby team was selected ahead of the build up to the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers set to begin in June.
Speaking after receiving news on the recently unveiled $1,5million sponsorship package to the Sables that was mainly provided by Zerttew Operations, a local mining company, Mukorera said while he welcomed the sponsorship, his concern was on team selection.
“I am happy with the sponsorship package that has been made available to the Sables because it will help the Zimbabwean rugby game to improve but my main worry is on the selection of the team that was selected ahead of the World Cup qualifiers,”
The team is made up of players mainly from Harare clubs such as Harare Sports Club, Old Georgians and Old Hararians rugby club.
“The current training Sables team which was selected ahead of the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers is mainly made up of guys from Harare and those who play in foreign leagues while we only have a few players from Bulawayo, why they should always form a team which is highly dominated by the guys from Harare, it’s very unfair to all rugby players based outside Harare because they are not given a chance to showcase their talent at national level,” he said.
He went on to say that he believes the Bulawayo Province has a lot of rugby talent which should be walking into the Sables team but it is very unfortunate because the national team selectors are mainly focused on the players from Harare.
“We are calling for fair recognition of talent when it comes to the selection of the rugby national team; Bulawayo has a lot of players who have the potential of lifting the Zimbabwean flag high so can the Zimbabwe Rugby Board provide a fair opportunity to all the players based in all the provinces in Zimbabwe so that at the end of the day we have a strong Sables team which will make Zimbabwe proud,” he said.
Ntandoyenkosi Ndlovu the Highlanders Rugby Club captain who represented the Zambezi Steelers at the 2018 Sevens Kwese games agreed with his coach on the way the selection of the Sables team is conducted as he said, “the problem with the rugby national team coaches is that they think Harare is the only province capable of grooming good players of which that’s not the case, they are a lot of players from Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and other cities who should be in the current Sables training team.”
The Sables are preparing for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers set to begin in June with Morocco being their first assignment at home and the Aaron Jani led ZRU board has made drastic changes with the recruitment of coach Peter der Villiers a former Springbok player and coach being one of them.