The Sunday Mail
SABLES coach Peter De Villers could be on his way out with former national team coach Collin Osborne, who quit as the assistant coach of English Premiership side Harlequins in July, tipped as the favourite to take over.
PDV signed a two-year contract in February this year and was tasked with taking Zimbabwe to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
But the Sables ended up having to fight for survival in the Gold Cup, winning just one, drawing another and losing three of the five games Zimbabwe played in the elite group.
The team’s poor show has apparently triggered a storm with some leading figures in the local game, such as Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Losson Mtongwiza, former Sables coach Godwin Murambiwa as well as former captains Costa Dinha and Max Madziva, believed to be part of the anti-PDV campaign.
Leaked WhatsApp messages have a person believed to be Mtongwiza saying they made a mistake when they backed the appointment of PDV.
“I f…d up. I also f…d up in thinking PDV was good for us. We will have to correct those positions musiyei apedze (Let him finish the current campaign),” reads the message alleged to be from the ZRU vice president.
Dinha is alleged to have said, “We wer (sic) in s…t from the moment we lost to bluebulls u20 and panic buttons should have been pressed then.”
While Murambiwa, Mtongwiza, Dinha and Madziva have neither confirmed nor denied the WhatsApp messages, sources said they are authentic and a true reflection of how the local rugby fraternity feels about PDV.”
“Getting those to confirm the leaked messages will be impossible because its paints them in bad light.
However, everyone in rugby knows those messages are authentic and most of the people share the views expressed in those messages, hence there has not been much noise about their leaking,” said one official who preferred anonymity.
One of the few people to go public with his criticism is Zimbabwean born former Springbok Tonderai Chavhanga who reckons the Sables need a fresh start with a new coach.
“When he [De Villiers] was appointed, he promised that he would get us (Zimbabwe) to the World Cup and he failed.
“I feel that we need something a bit different. Whatever approach he took this year clearly didn’t work and for the amount of money that he is getting, as a Zimbabwean, I would have expected better results. I think it’s better to get someone else,” Chavhanga was quoted as saying by the South African press last week.
But PDV, who hinted at disunity in camp as the Sables stumbled from one poor Gold Cup performance to another, hit back saying Chavhanga abandoned Zimbabwe when the country needed him the most.
“You know, I don’t want to get into that conversation too much, but for someone who ran away from the problems of his own country when I was there trying to help the people of Zimbabwe, he is wrong,” PDV said on the Marawa Sport Worldwide show.
As temperatures rise, ZRU president Aaron Jani disclosed that they will meet in the capital next weekend to discuss the Gold Cup campaign.
“We are having a board meeting on the 29th. One of the main issues will be to assess our performance this season as well as the Gold Cup.
Recommendations and resolutions will be made towards a successful 2019 season,” said Jani.