The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Sibanda Pleads for Patience

NEWLY-APPOINTED Young Sables coach, Nsikelelo "Sykes" Sibanda, has pleaded for patience as he embarks on a new expedition with the Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby side. Following the resignation of Brighton Chivandire and Godwin Murambiwa from active roles within the Under-20 technical set-up, Sibanda was two weeks ago appointed as the new substantive coach of the junior side.

His main duty this year will be taking the Under-20 side for the Junior Africa Cup and his target is to make sure the Young Sables qualify for the 2014 edition of the Junior World Rugby Trophy tournament next year.

The tournament is set to take place in South Africa despite the fact that the Baby Boks do not take part in the junior tournament as they have an automatic qualification to the more prestigious Junior World Cup where they are the current champions.

"I hope rugby lovers will be patient because these things take time, knowing sports fans in Zimbabwe, they always want results, and they enjoy winning. It"s going to be difficult, so this means we have to put in a lot of hard work for the players, we have very little time for them to adapt to a different style of play which takes a long time to master.

"I think the players will catch on quickly.

"For the fans, we always want you rally behind the team especially when the chips are down," said the former Under-21 coach.

Last year the tournament was initially set for South Africa but was moved to Zimbabwe at the last-minute after South Africa Rugby Union indicated that they were not able to host the event which they do not take part in.

According to the tournament details that were released by the Confederation of African Rugby yesterday, the junior tournament will take place in Nelspriut, Mpumalanga from August 26 to 31.

The Sports Club coach also named his assistant coaches yesterday, Jeff Madaki, Marvin Chirume and Cheetahs' playmaker Daniel Hondo comes in as a surprise yet pleasant inclusion.

Chirume is the only surviving member from last year's technical team as he assisted Chivandire together with Brandon Brider at the Junior Africa Cup that was won by Namibia.

While Sibanda is the man in charge, Madaki comes in charge of the forwards, Chirume in charge of the backline while Sables centre Hondo chips in as the strength and conditioning coach.

"Hondo is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach with a degree in that field, and he is also an accredited International Rugby Board strength and conditioning educator licensed train coaches.

"I am happy with the assistant coaches that I will be working with because I think there are a lot of similarities in the style of rugby that we coach.

"I've always enjoyed the way he (Chirume) played fullback during his playing days, his style of play blends in well with the style I coach, hopefully he can impart the same skills to the youngsters."

However, Sibanda yesterday said they were yet to meet with the committee in charge of running the affairs of the Under-20 brand to discuss the way forward in terms of preparations.

"We are still to sit down as a technical team and prepare a plan, we only just got the tournament dates today (yesterday) but as part of our preparations we are looking at having a couple of friendlies against South Africa provincial sides," said the Sports Club coach.

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