Zambezi Cheetahs Disappoint In Zambia

THE Zambezi Cheetahs lost 12-14 to Zambia in the final of the Zambia International Sevens rugby tournament played at the Leopards Hill Polocrosse Club in Lusaka on Sunday.

A missed second half conversion by flyhalf Lenience Tambwera was all that separated the two teams, with Zambia holding on for victory.

In their first tournament since they won the Kwese Sports Sevens in Victoria Falls in March, captain Hilton Mudariki’s Cheetahs showed a good fighting spirit during the two-day tournament.

The Cheetahs lost their first match 12-20 to Midlands Select but bounced back to overcome Botswana 37-5, whitewash Lesotho 62-0 and beat Zambia B 19-12.

They went on to meet the President Select of Zambia in the semi-finals and won 22-17 to set up a clash against Zambia in the final.

The scores were level at 7-7 heading into the halftime break before Zambia went on to secure victory.

South Africa-based players, prop Biselele Tshamala and hooker Ngoni Chibuwe, scored the Cheetahs’ tries, while Tambwera was only successful with one conversion and missed the other.

Coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba felt winning the tournament would have been a massive achievement since they had four players that made their Cheetahs’ debut over the two days.

Mark Kidson, Shingi Hlanguyo, Tarisai Mugariri and Ngoni Chibuwe were handed their debuts by Nyamutsamba in the Zambian tourney.

“Winning the tournament would have been the cherry on top. However, we came to Zambia with the main objective of rotating and seeing new players in a tournament environment, as this was a continuation of a selection process that started in February. We fielded four debutants at this tournament, leaving out seasoned players,” Nyamutsamba said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Goshawks, under the tutelage of former Cheetahs’ star Tangai Nemadire, who was assisted by another ex-Zimbabwe international Jafet Ndebele, defeated Lesotho 31-14 to win the shield at the same tournament yesterday.

Next up for the Cheetahs is a trip to Lesotho to take part in the Maseru Sevens on September 23 and 24. — @Mdawini_29

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