ZIMBABWE’S Under-19 rugby team leaves the country for Namibia this afternoon carrying the nations’ last hope for a World Cup berth this year when they take part in this week’s Confederation of African Rugby’s Division 1A U-19 Championships.
The event which will be held from next Tuesday until Saturday in Windhoek is the highest level of U-19 national team competition on the African continent, with the winner earning a ticket to play in the 2015 Junior World Rugby Trophy in Portugal.
After the senior national rugby side missed out on a place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the Young Sables are the only representative side still with a chance of qualifying for a major tournament.
Zimbabwe will play Kenya in the first semi-final at the Hage Geingob in Windhoek on Tuesday while hosts Namibia clash with Tunisia in the other semi-final match.
The winners of the two semi-finals will qualify for the final set for August 30 where the winner will qualify the 2015 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy. Young Sables team manager Blessing Chiutare said while they were aware that Namibia posed the team’s biggest threat, they would be taking each game as it comes.
“Obviously Namibia pose our biggest challenge, but we will be taking it one game at a time and our focus at the moment is on the match against Kenya. Our target is to first beat Kenya and I’m sure we will manage to achieve that and then we can start thinking of Namibia,” Chiutare said yesterday.
“Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2015 Junior World Rugby Trophy.”
Chiutare said despite the withdrawal of some key players from the side their preparations had gone well and he was confident they would field the strongest possible side.
Young Sables Squad: G Sipapate, F Mudariki, T Chikwezhero, K Chipunza, T Mujeni (captain), T Dhliwayo, K Nhira, B Nyaude, T Zimuto, I Bawden, N Tanyanyiwa, S Mhembere, D Velempini, S Mwayera, T Gwisai, H de la Fargue, C Archer, N Chinorwadza, 19 S Snater, J Mutukwa, S Coles, T Ngosi, G Mavara, T Mukonyora
Technical team: Nsikelelo “Sykes” Sibanda (head coach), Marvin Chirume (backline coach), Jeff Madhake (forwards coach), Blessing Chiutare (team manager).