The Herald (Harare)

20 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Dawson Puts Blame On ZRU

SABLES coach Brandon Dawson believes the Zimbabwe Rugby Union is letting him down in carrying his duties to full potential as he can not have all the players he requires in camp especially the foreign based players.

Dawson feels that the Sables committee -- responsible for fundraising and running the affairs of the national team -- has not been able to raise funds to make sure that he fully carries out his duties thus making his job difficult.

On Tuesday, the Sables players who travelled to Dubai last week expressed disappointment over the team that Dawson selected for the tournament alleging that it was based on favouritism.

The players -- who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity -- also blamed the coach for undermining his assistant Cyprian "Supa" Mandenge who, however, does most of the work during preparations.

But Dawson argued that the players he took to Dubai were the best available players adding that the changes he made to the side that travelled to Namibia were necessary.

However, the former Sables captain spoke on blame game between the technical department and the committee that is tasked with administering the Sables which is led by Bongai Zamchiya.

"We just have to deal with what we have because the ZRU does not have the money to bring in the good players that we need for these games and there is nothing I can do but work with the available players.

"The committee has not raised enough money to make sure that we get the top players, we all know that there is no money and that was the best we could do.

"We need money to bring in the foreign based players we feel they are good enough and can add value to the team but we get into camp a few days before a tournament and that is not good enough for us (to prepare) if we are to qualify for the (England 2015) World Cup.

"We get into camp three days before a tournament and if we are to look at this in terms of the World Cup, we can't play against the All Blacks at the rate we are going at right now," said Dawson.

Dawson is based in Bulawayo where he takes care of national players based in that town while Mandenge takes charge of the players in the capital and these are also the same players who dominate the national side.

With most of the National Rugby League games taking place in Harare, Dawson rarely knows his players as he hardly visits to watch the locally based players in action and has also been blamed for not taking full charge of training sessions.

Usually, Dawson comes into camp two to three days before any game and has not been available for two of the last five international tournaments over the last two years.

"Talk of commitment and dedication, I am very committed to the side if I were not I would not be here today. I have played for that side (Sables) and I know what it means to wear the jersey."

Sables chairman Zamchiya yesterday said they have an open door policy for the players to launch their complains. The players know the right channel to follow, we have an open door policy and that is why the captain is the players representative and has to talk to the manager and take matters to the committee if need be," said Zamchiya.

But the players feel that there is no separation of roles between the committee, Dawson and manager Losson Mtongwiza.

"It's not like we have not been raising these issues before, we have done so several times but they have not been addressed because the committee chairman (Zamchiya), Dawson and Losson can not be separated, they are all friends.

"At the end of the day we have nowhere to run to, I don't know if this is what open door means," said one of the players yesterday.

Lack of sponsorship, Dawson said, is going to bring in a lot of challenges if the committee does not work all out to get the much needed money as most of the teams the Sables need to play if they are to improve have all they need.

"We need to keep playing tournaments at such a level (as the last two in Dubai and Namibia) and that is the only way we can do well on the international stage, but the huge difference is that the teams we played are all ranked above us.

"They also have all they want at their disposal, they are professionals and they have the money, something we are struggling to get and that is why we had to fly Winwood and Nelson straight to Dubai because the Union did not have the money to bring them to Zimbabwe.

"I hope that by the time we play in the Africa Cup next year, we would have played at least two Test matches with our top players so that we win where it matters the mos," Dawson said.

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