Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Cheetahs will face Tunisia and Mauritius in their 2018 Rugby Africa Sevens Group C tournament in Tunisia today and tomorrow.
Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Senegal, Morocco, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia and defending champions Uganda will take part in the tournament that will be used to select two African representatives at the Hong Kong World Sevens Series next year.
Despite inadequate preparations for the Cheetahs which saw them missing some camping days ahead of the continental showpiece, the Gilbert Nyamutsamba-led side will have to put everything behind them if they hope for better fortunes this year.
The Cheetahs were meant to be in camp from October 4-9 but lack of funds saw the team regrouping on October 8.
As a result of poor planning, the Cheetahs will have to do without skipper Hilton Mudariki and Boyd Rouse who are based in the United Kingdom as well as Shayne Makombe who plies his trade in France.
They will be putting their hopes on foreign based players, Biselele Tshamala, Connor Prichard, Stephan Hunduza, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo and Ngoni Chibuwe.
Nyamutsamba said they are wary of Tunisia playing before their home crowd and distance might have some negative effects as they had to first go to Dubai before heading to Tunisia.
Last year, the Zimbabwe Cheetahs were runners up at the Africa Cup where they lost 10-7 to host nation Uganda in the final with the result still good enough to send the Cheetahs to the Sevens Rugby World Cup which was held in San Francisco, United States of America in July this year.
The last time Zimbabwe won the Africa Cup was in 2012 when they conquered in Morocco, winning all their games without suffering a loss.
Nyamutsamba and his troops are expected back in the country on October 16.
Africa Sevens 2018 groups
Pool A: Kenya,Morocco, Botswana
Pool B: Uganda, Senegal, Ghana
Pool C: Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Mauritius
Pool D: Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia
Cheetahs squad: Mkhululi Ndlela, Connor Pritchard, Nelson Madida, Kudakwashe Chiwanza, Ngoni Chibuwe, Shingirai Katsvere, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Biselele Tshamala, Shingirai Hlanguyo, Tarisai Mudariri, Stephan Hunduza, Takudzwa Kumadiro.
Head coach: Gilbert Nyamutsamba
Team manager: Simba Dangah
Physiotherapist: Amanda Tererai