Cheetahs Fall To Kenya Shujas
Zimbabwe’s Cheetahs surrendered the Kwese Sports Rugby Cup after falling 5-10 to Kenya in a thrilling final played in Victoria Falls Sunday.
The Gilbert Nyamutsamba-coached Cheetahs were the defending champions going into the second edition of the tournament after beating Namibia 24-7 in 2017.
Namibia did not participate this year and in came Kenya Shujas, who showed determination beating the Cheetahs 14-12 on Saturday in the round robin stage and completed a double over Zimbabwe in the final.
The Cheetahs conceded two successive early tries and had a chance to catch up as the East Africans missed both conversions.
Zimbabwe got the only try in the second half through Riaan O'Neil but failed to direct the resultant conversion.
Debutant and Victoria Falls based Connor Pritchard who came in as a substitute for injured Njabulo Ndlovu in the first half could have wrapped it up for the Cheetahs towards the end of the match but he chose to go physical when he had Biselele Tshamala running on his left to pass the ball to.
In the end, it was 10-5 in favour of hard tackling Kenyans, breaking the hearts of a cheerful crowd.
Nyamutsamba was happy with his charges’ performance.
“There is so much to take from this tournament. It was always going to be tough because we hadn’t had matches since last year and we only trained for four days. But all in all, I am happy and taking so much positives from the boys considering we tried new players,” he said.
His Kenyan counterpart, Will Webster, said the tournament was a good platform to prepare for the Hong Kong Sevens early next month.
Both teams are heading to Hong Kong Sevens.
Kwese Sports started the tournament last year as a way of promoting Pan-African sport and sports tourism.
The other teams which participated in this year’s tournament were Botswana Spartans, False Bay from South Africa, Lesotho, Uganda, Zambia A and B as well as Zimbabwe’s Goshawks and Zambezi Steelers.