3 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Cheetahs Players to Sign New Contracts

ZIMBABWE Sevens rugby players are this week expected to sign six months contracts which cover them during their participation at the Sevens World Cup in Moscow, Russia. After qualifying for this year's Sevens World Cup in Moscow, Russia, the Cheetahs management saw it fit to give players contracts in preparation for the world tournament set for June.

The Cheetahs are now just waiting for the legal documentation to be completed.

About 15 players will be bought out of their respective clubs and camp in Harare for the six months leading up to the 2013 Sevens World Cup with all their requirements catered for during this period.

Cheetahs chairman Donald Mangenje said yesterday that the first batch of players is expected to put pen to paper before the end of this week as legal documentation is now ready.

Mangenje indicated that the project is expected to cost around US$50 000 covering the players day to day expenses, gym, food and basic allowances among other special needs.

Old horses who include the likes of Wes Mbanje, Tangai Nemadire, Fortune Chipendu, Jacques Leitao, and Daniel Hondo will constitute the bulk of the players that are set to get contracts from the Sevens committee.

"We have the final draft that has been approved by both the committee and the lawyers and I am expected to endorse with my signature tomorrow (today) and once that is done, the players will have their contracts.

"The first batch of players are expected to sign their contracts before the end of this week," said the former Sables scrumhalf.

However, Mangenje was no at liberty to reveal the players who constitute the first batch of players who are set to sign contracts this week.

"This does not mean that we have closed doors on the other players because we still have the Summer Series and the Spar Sevens International tournament at home and who knows, we might get some interesting prospects there.

"We, however, have special cases because there are some players that are still in university abroad and we cannot control that because obviously we can't stop them from getting education.

"But what we have done is that we will get the players special programmes they will have to work on and will monitor their progress," added Mangenje.

Some of the players that are in university include Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Njabulo Ndlovu and Jonathan McWade who are all based in South Africa.

The Cheetahs have a rather tough year ahead of them as they are dreaming of making it as a core IRB Sevens World Series member after failing to make it in the top grade last year.

They are also expected to perform well at the World Cup.

Cheetahs manager Bruce Hobson believes the semi-professional set up they are taking will help them compete at a better level with most of the teams firstly in the core membership qualifiers and in the World Series - if they qualify. We are trying to have more of a professional set-up where we are going to have about 15 players staying in Harare and have all their expenses covered by the Sevens committee so that all they concentrate on is rugby. It's an open secret that every team we are going to play at the World Cup is made up of professionals and they have professional set-ups in their countries so that is what we are trying to emulate.

"We have to be as professional as possible, have the players in professional conditions as they will be training about three times a day because we believe this would better our performance at the competition," said Hobson.

However, the contracts will not only be offered to the current crop of Sevens players as the technical team led by coach Gilbert "Gidza" Nyamutsamba is also looking at the future of the game after the World Cup.

"Between now and the Olympics in 2016 there are a lot of tournaments that are going to take place there and we believe that by the time we go for the Olympic Games, Zimbabwe would have qualified as a World Seven Series core team.

"I also feel that is going to be much easier for us to qualify as a core team now because there will be eight teams fighting for the three spots because last time we had tough competition against teams like Portugal," said Hobson.

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