SABLES coach Brendan Dawson called on his charges to draw inspiration from past experiences as they bid to overcome the myriad of problems which have threatened to prematurely end their dream of qualifying to the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 22 years.
Dawson’s comments came in the wake of the cancellation of their tour to South Africa due to lack of funds which left the flagship national rugby side without any meaningful warm-up games ahead of the crucial 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar.
The team had earlier this year earmarked other matches against the England Counties team and an unnamed European team.
However, both matches were cancelled following media reports of alleged racism in the local game.
While Zimbabwe has been plagued by these problems, their opponents Kenya and Namibia have been fine-tuning against top opponents.
Dawson, who was part of the last Sables squad to qualify for the Rugby World Cup way back in 1991, remained optimistic and believed despite the challenges; qualification for the World Cup remains an achievable goal.
“We have to do the best we can with the little that we have because honestly speaking we just don’t have the money,” he said.
“Our corporate world has not been supportive as we would have hoped and we haven’t been able to get any sponsorship. It’s not due to lack of trying,”
“We have tried to organise matches and look for sponsorship, but all to no avail which is really sad considering the success the team has enjoyed in recent years. However, we just have to solider on.”
Dawson said lack of sponsorship was not a new phenomenon to the team as they had taken part in previous rounds of the World Cup qualification campaign without any sponsorship.
“If you don’t get sponsorship you can’t do anything because there’s no money to organise international matches. We just have to accept it and focus on what we are able to do which is to work hard and try to overcome that adversity,” he said.
“In the past we have gone to similar tournaments without any preparatory matches and done well because of the will to achieve.
“If we work hard during our training camp and travel to Madagascar with the unity and self-belief I’m confident we can surprise many people by achieving our goal.”
Despite the problems that have affected the Sables qualification campaign, they have always found that extra motivation to punch above their weight.
Last year the team cancelled matches against South African teams Valke and Pumas due to financial challenges, but still managed to do well to reach the Africa Cup final, where they eventually lost to Kenya.
In 2012, the Sables were also crowned African champions in Tunisia after playing only one warm-up match against South African provincial side Valke in the capital.