THE Zimbabwe Sevens rugby side, the Cheetahs, have another big test ahead of them before taking part at the World Cup as they will feature in the Africa Cup set for Kenya in April. This makes it Zimbabwe's fourth high-profile tournament ahead of the Sevens World Cup set for Moscow, Russia, in June as they will take part in three other International Rugby Board World Sevens Series tournaments.
These include the Hong Kong Sevens at the end of March and the back-to-back tournaments in Scotland and England in the first two weeks of May.
This will be their last tournament before travelling to Russia where they will battle it out in the World Sevens tournament making the Cheetahs the most active rugby side in 2013.
Zimbabwe are the defending champions having won last year's edition of the Africa Cup, which doubled up as a World Cup qualifier, where they beat Tunisia in the final.
South Africa and Kenya were not part of the event.
The two are part of the World Series core members and had automatic qualification slots into the World Cup so they did not take part in the continental showcase.
Kenya will this time be part of the tournament. The East Africans will give Zimbabwe tough competition as they are ranked above the Cheetahs and will also be using the tournament to prepare for the World Cup and keeping fit for the World Series. But first, the Cheetahs are expected to stage the Spar international rugby tournament where they will host high-profile, regional and local teams before travelling to Hong Kong for the March 22-24 tournament.
Hosts Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Georgia, Kenya, Zambia and Botswana are the six national teams that will take part in the tournament.
South African Sevens Academy, Mpumalanga Pumas, the Bulls and Buffaloes, the Leopards and Zimbabwe developmental side the Goshawks are also in.
In April, Zimbabwe will face the likes of Tunisia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Morocco, and Namibia, as well as, two Kenyan teams contesting in the Africa Cup where they hope to retain their title.
The Hong Kong leg of the World Series follows and this will be the first qualifying stage for core membership where the top four teams of the second tier competition will make it to Scotland and England for the final stage from May 4-12.
Only three teams are expected to grab the remaining three slots to complete the core members list where four of the teams that would have made it from Hong Kong, the bottom three teams from the current series and other non-core teams will battle for glory.
And the top three non-core members will join the elite group, which currently only has South Africa and Kenya as the only African teams taking part in the World Series.
However, first will be the Cheetahs campaign in the second edition of the Zimbabwe Spar International Rugby Tournament which has lured a number of oversees, regional and local teams.
Following their powerful performances at the 2012 Confederation of African Rugby Sevens in Morocco last year, Nigeria has been invited to the Kenya tournament as they registered a narrow semi-final loss to Zimbabwe.