The Sunday Mail
SABLES head coach Peter de Villiers accepted the audacious task of getting Zimbabwe’s national 15’s rugby side to Japan for the 2019 World Cup but failed.
However, as the dust begins to settle on the Africa Gold Cup – with Zimbabwe’s place in the elite group firmly in tact – the 60-year-old has permanently set base in Harare in what may be a sign that PDV is here to stay.
“The reason I moved here is that I cannot expect the players to go through certain hardships while I come in and go back to where I come from,” explained de Villiers.
“I want to be in the trenches with my boys and go through the same things they go through.
“If there is no money in the bank or whatever it is that they go through, I want to go through it with them.
“It helps you understand the needs of each player and that some things are reasons and not excuses.”
Outside the hectic schedule of rebuilding the Sables structure and working on off-season programs with different players, PDV, as he is popularly known as, has fallen head over heels in love with Zimbabwe.
The country’s untold stories and a few of its iconic features have left him speaking like one of us.
“It will be sin if you leave Zimbabwe without understanding what the country is really about,” said the former Springboks coach.
“I made some time to visit the Heroes aces, the National Sports Stadium and the other sports venues.
“When we played against Namibia, I chose to drive to Bulawayo rather than fly with the team and that made me appreciate the country even more.”
With the pressure of the Gold Cup off his shoulders, PDV unleashed a bit of humour, sharing his culinary views on the difference between sadza and pap, which are both staple foods in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Surely, they are the same thing right?
Well, not according to the former World Cup winner!
“There is no major difference between pap and sadza, but with pap you need a spoon while with sadza you use your hands.
“When I first came here I saw the water urns and I said to myself ‘these people are hygienic man’. I then realised no, no they only wash their hands like that because those are spoons,” said PDV before breaking into a hearty laugh.
The Sables gaffer was filled with awe at the sight of the Victoria Falls.
“I was lucky to go to the Victoria Waterfalls, I experienced God in Zimbabwe. That is the work of God,” said PDV.
“As I watched that sight I called my daughter and said ‘you must see this.’ She came here when we played against Morocco, I sent her up to Vic Falls and she got engaged there.”
PDV said he now understands it when his players refer to being late as African time.
“We (Zimbabweans) have more than what money can buy, people make time for people.
“When I got here, I could not understand it when people used the expression ‘African time’.
“But now I know that African time is not coming late, African time is making time for other people which eventually causes you to be late for the next meeting,” said PDV.
The national rugby coach recently attended a Chevrons training session and had a brief conversation with newly appointed Zimbabwe cricket coach Lalchand Rajput.