ZIMBABWE rugby team technical department yesterday named a fairly balanced 25-member squad with limited experience for the Emirates Airline Cup of Nations, which kicks off on Saturday in Dubai.
REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO SPORTS REPORTER
While on tour, the reigning CAR African champions, powered by Marange Resources, will take on the hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong and Belgium.
Zimbabwe will miss several key players in Dubai as some senior players will be expected to represent the Zimbabwe Sevens team at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens which will also kicks off on Saturday in South Africa.
Due to the clash of the two tournaments, the Sables’ technical department headed by coach Brendan Dawson was left with no other option, but to include several uncapped players in the squad.
The team consists of three overseas-based players in the UK-based trio of flanker Shingi Mpofu, uncapped prop Nic Winwood and centre Tommy Nelson.
The three will fly directly to the UAE from their bases to link up with the rest of the squad which leaves the country tomorrow. The other uncapped players in the forwards pack are lock Sanele Sibanda, Old Georgians front row Simba Musarurwa and South Africa-based Keith Murray.
In the backline the Cheetahs duo of Graham Kaulback and John McWade and the speedy Steven Hunduza will be set to earn their first Sables caps and expected to fill the void left by star players in that department such as Daniel Hondo, Gardner Nechironga, Tangai Nemadire and Wes Mbanje.
Sables’ travelling delegation
Forwards: Tapiwa Mangezi, Pieter Joubert, Nic Winwood, Keith Murray, Simba Musarurwa, Brian Makamure, Costa Dinha, Jan Ferreira, Sanele Sibanda, Biselele Tshamala, Shingirai Mpofu, Tonderai Chigumbura, Takunda Chifokoyo
Backs: Scotty Jones, Graham Kaulback, Lenience Tambwera, Tichafara Makwanya, Tommy Nelson, Gavin Nyawata, Simbarashe Chirimuuta, Josh Rowe, Kudakwashe Chiwanza, Shane Makombe, Steven Hunduza, John McWade
Head coach — Brendon Dawson
Assistant coach — Cyprian Mandenge
Team manager — Losson Mtongwiza
Head of delegation — Bongai Zamchiya
Physiotherapist — Abigail Mnikwa