By Lawrence Trusida Sport Editor
THE Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby national team, the Cheetahs have been handed a reality check ahead of the Africa Cup set for Uganda in two weeks’ time after finishing third at the Zambezi Sevens Challenge at Harare Sports Club.
The Cheetahs lost 17-15 in the semi-finals to eventual tournament winners Spartans club of Botswana.
The Gaborone-based club which features a number of Zimbabwean players on their roster beat Zambia 26-14 in a rain drenched final.
Former Zimbabwe youth international and Mbare Rugby Academy product, Pride Nyameni was named the Player of the Tournament after an illuminating the competition for Spartans.
Cheetahs head coach, Graham Kaulback is optimistic his team will do well in the upcoming Africa Cup despite the poor showing.
“Obviously disappointed with the result but I think we have sharpened the iron ahead of the tournament and we are hopeful we will do well,” said coach Kaulback.
Winning captain, Pride Nyameni was happy with his team’s performance in the 10-team tournament.
“We are happy we have worked hard and we have progressed as a team we came here to win and we managed that and hopefully they can change their policy and also get to look at other players as well,” said captain Nyameni.
The Zambezi challenge cup was organised by Zimbabwe Rugby Union to give Cheetahs more game time ahead of the Africa Cup Sevens in Uganda, where they will be aiming to qualify for the Sevens Rugby World Cup to be held in Cape Town in September.
In Uganda, the Cheetahs will face stiffer opposition than they faced at the just ended competition as they are up against the likes of Kenya, the hosts Uganda as well as Tunisia who are all ranked higher than Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the ever-improving Lady Cheetahs were crowned winners after beating rivals Zambia 12- 5 in an entertaining ladies final.
The Derek Chiwara-coached Lady Cheetahs were also using the tournament to prepare for the Africa Women’s Sevens to be held in Tunisia.