Paramount rally Cheetahs

10 Sep, 2023 - 00:09 0 Views
Paramount rally Cheetahs Zimbabwe Cheetahs wing Tafadzwa Chitokwindo (with ball in hand) evades a tackle from a Madagascar player while his teammate Kudakwashe Chiwanza supports him in a Rugby Africa Men's Sevens bronze medal playoff match at Bosman Stadium yesterday

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

AFTER twice coming perilously close in 2015 and 2018, Zimbabwe’s Cheetahs have been challenged to “finally get the monkey off the back’’ — and overcome the hurdle posed by perennial rivals Kenya in their quest for Olympics qualification.

Kenya have always brought the biggest challenge to the Cheetahs’ global aspirations in the rugby sevens arena.

The Kenyans pipped the Cheetahs for a place at the 2016 Olympics after winning the Africa Cup, with Zimbabwe the runners-up.

Kenya were to prevail over Zimbabwe and Uganda to secure qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Now, after their compatriots in the longer version (the Sables) failed to qualify for the Rugby World Cup — which bursts into life in France on Friday — the Cheetahs have a chance to somewhat atone for Zimbabweans’ disappointment.

Just like the Rugby World Cup, the Olympics will also be in France. And the domestic game’s all-weather corporate friends — Paramount Garments — yesterday rallied the class of 2023 to turn on the magic on home soil and secure a maiden appearance at the Olympics.

The spotlight will fall on skipper Godfrey Magaramombe and his troops for the tourney at Harare Sports Club on September 16-17. Having backed the national Under-20 side during their successful stint in the Barthes Trophy and at the World Junior trophy, Paramount Garments are confident the Cheetahs will also impress.

Paramount Garments group marketing executive Rumbi Dzimba spoke about the pride they take in having invested in the development of talented young rugby players in the country.

“As a business, we are starting to reap the rewards from this sponsorship, as we are witnessing an improvement in the competitiveness of the teams. This year alone, we have seen the Under-20s team representing the country in major tournaments and raising the national flag high at the Under-20 Barthes Trophy and the Under-20 junior World Trophy,” Dzimba said.

“All this made possible because there is a strong foundation we have invested in at provincial level. We are also excited that in this season, we have had the opportunity to facilitate for a continental tournament to be played on local soil — The Paramount Garments Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens Tournament.

“Yet another tournament that presents a testimony of the importance of sustainability investment in sport,’’ she said.

Paramount Garments are hoping that the current crop of Cheetahs will emulate the commitment shown by some of their predecessors, citing the likes of former Sables fullback Victor Olonga, who featured for the national team in 2002.

“With such great play Zimbabwe has shown, then England-based Zimbabwe rugby international Victor Olonga, in 2002, pledged his commitment to the senior national team despite the Sables’ disappointing exit from the 2003 World Cup qualifiers.

“Then Zim captain Victor, brother of cricket legend Henry Olonga committed to the country’s cause. Victor Olonga — just like his coach Godwin Murambiwa — was left a disappointed man after he failed to lead his troops in the biggest match of their qualifying campaign and watched in horror as the Sables crashed to a 30-42 defeat by Namibia at Hartsfield.



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