THE Zambia rugby team last night left for Morocco ahead of this weekend's International Rugby Board (IRB) 2013 Sevens Rugby World Cup (RWC) Africa region qualifiers with coach, Richard Kapoma eyeing a winning start against the host nation.
Kapoma said in an interview in Lusaka before departure that there was need for the team to build on the Safaricom performance, which saw the team win the Shield competition by ensuring victory at the RWC qualifiers.
The former national team player said a win over Morocco would be vital in the team's campaign to earn qualification to the RWC finals to be hosted by Russia.
Zambia is in Pool A alongside hosts Morocco, Madagascar and Nigeria, while the Zimbabwe Cheetahs, who are favourites to win the competition, are in Pool B with Tunisia, Namibia and Ivory Coast.
The winners of the two semi-finals will then progress to the cup final having both secured places in Moscow.
South Africa and Kenya will not take part in the qualifiers as they have already qualified automatically for the event, which will take place next June in the Russian capital.
"I think our chances are very high and we stand a good chance to qualify but we need to get a good result against Morocco. I remember we beat Morocco when I was a player during the George tournament in South Africa and I am confident that we can do it again," he said.
Kapoma, who is also Green Buffaloes coach, has maintained faith in the same squad that won him the Shield in Kenya and was happy that the team flew out with a clean bill of health with focus on winning the competition.
The players include six forwards Daniel Sakala, Israel Kalumba, Fernard Kashimoto, Teddius Chipoya, Edward Mumba and Tom Chaloba, while the backline consists of Owen Mwila, Fine Chinkumbe, Ackim Mushota, Ernest Mwansa, Hopeman Kanamina and Terry Kaushiku.
And Women rugby team coach Innocent Sakala said his team has prepared well for the tournament and should be regard as competitors and not mere participants.
Sakala said in an interview from Ndola that the team was focussed on winning the competition having trained as a unit for a while and was confident that they will be a force to reckon with at the tournament.
"I do not think we shall have serious problems during the competition apart from the likes of Morocco and Tunisia whom I have not seen play but we are hopeful of a good outing and winning the competition,"
Sakala, who is Green Eagles trainer, said.
The women's team is made up of Carol Mpululuka, Barbara Mumbi, Cecilia Chitengi, Mary Mbewe, Melody Habukali, Eukeria Chimanga, Sylvia Mubita, Lilian Makwati, Gillian Mwape, Lome Phiri, Kasawala Sitembilia and Linda Chitende.
They will battle with hosts, Morocco, Madagascar and Nigeria in Pool A at the RWC qualifiers. Zambia Rugby Football Union (ZRFU) Committee Member Moono Muleya is the delegation leader.