The Sunday Mail
THERE was major excitement within the Zimbabwe rugby community as news filtered in that the men’s national side will this year grace the Currie Cup tournament, albeit under the Goshawks banner.
The Goshawks – together with Kenya, Namibia and Georgia – are among the new faces expected at second tier Currie Cup tournament, with Brendan Dawson and his technical team expected to use this opportunity for their preparations for the World Cup qualifiers later this year.
“We have always seen the Sables as that beacon for ZRU and the nation, given its status as the flagship team,” said Zimbabwe Rugby Union president, Aaron Jani, at the announcement on Wednesday.
“This is the importance that we have placed on the Sables team, and it has been our vision to build the structures and systems that will allow us to compete regularly for the Africa Cup and for the World Cup.
“It is also our vision to ensure that we expose our players not only to quality game time, but we expose them to the competition and the levels that we aspire to achieve.
“It is against that background that I am happy to announce that SARU have accepted our application to take part in the second tier of the Currie Cup tournament,” he said.
While the actual details of the tournament and Goshawks squad are yet to be revealed, the 2022 Africa Cup tournament remains the main goal.
Plans are afoot to use the 12-week tournament as preparation for the said tournament, which doubles as the final phase of the World Cup Qualifiers in France that are slated for July.
The 2022 Africa Cup will act as the third and final round of the African Qualification process, whereby the winner of an eight-team knockout competition will advance to the World Cup as Africa 1.
The participating countries include Namibia, Senegal, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Kenya, and Côte d’Ivoire.
Zimbabwe has been paired with Côte d’Ivoire, with the winner going through to the semi-final stage to meet up against the winner of the Burkina Faso and Namibia match.
Senegal and Algeria will meet in the other quarterfinal, with the winner meeting the victor of the Kenya and Uganda match.