THERE was once was a time, not too long ago, when getting a Sables call-up was as easy as pie.
All one had to do was ply their trade abroad, at whatever level, or feature for any of the country’s top three rugby teams- Harare Sports Club, Old Georgians and Old Hararians. However, much like the country, rugby is under a new dispensation and it’s no longer business as usual.
PDV, Peter De Villiers, is firmly in charge of the national rugby team, and jerseys will be earned and not awarded. Since his appointment in February, the 60-year-old has been busy, travelling up and down the country as well as abroad in a bid to watch as many games as possible.
De Villiers wants to build a team with players who will wear the national shirt with pride.
“There is very little to reveal about the Sables, the Under-20 and the Cheetahs take priority right now,” said De Villiers last week.
“However, I have watched many games, talked to many players both local and abroad and have already started coming up with my team.”
Quizzed on his experience and the promises he made upon his appointment, De Villiers conceded that some boxes are not as easy to tick as he imagined.
“Well, I have been busy getting to know the locals and soaking in the rich culture here. I love Zimbabwe and have enjoyed interacting with the kind and polite people of this country. Unfortunately, I am yet to learn the national anthem and might live to regret making that promise as it seems to be harder than I originally thought,” he said.
Last weekend the new Sables coach watched from the stands as Harare Sports Club fly-half Lenience Tambwera powered Sportivo to a hard fought 34-32 victory over Old Georgians and immediately sought to understand the story behind this fine talent. A video of PDV’s chat with Tarembwa was trending last week.
“The Sables coach approached me soon after the game and asked why I had not attended any of his training sessions,” revealed Tarembwa.
“He said he liked the way I kicked and saw a lot a potential in me. He also gave me a few pointers on how I can improve my game.”
A Sables call-up for Tambwera should come as no surprise as the 25-year-old has featured prominently for the Sables over the last three years. The only problem is that the player’s heart is divided, he loves rugby in all its formats but believes that his long term future lies in the skies and not the rugby field.
And PDV has to wait for instances when Tarembwa, who is studying towards being a pilot, is not in class or in camp with the sevens squad.
“I explained to the coach that I am a student and also a sevens player. Whenever I can am ready to serve the country but with the Cheetahs in action at the Kwese Sevens, Hong Kong Sevens and the World Cup they take precedence over the Sables for me. Thankfully he understood and said he will be waiting for my availability,” said Tambwera.
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