Sigauke’s rugby journey from ashes of defeat

05 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Sigauke’s rugby journey from ashes of defeat

The Sunday Mail

Tinashe Kusema

WITH the Zimbabwe Rugby Under-20 team, the Junior Sables, failing to qualify for the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2024 after losing to Kenya 13-28 in the Barthes Trophy in Harare last week, it is back to the drawing board for the squad.

For Edward Makomborero Sigauke, one of Zimbabwe’s brightest performers during the Barthes Trophy tournament, the loss was  heart-wrenching.

It was also a double blow for the Junior Sables centre as the defeat ended his Junior World Trophy dreams and his term with the Zimbabwe Under-20 team.

The 20-year-old is one of six players coach Shaun De Souza is set to lose for the 2025 campaign next term because of over age.

“Everyone should know that we did our absolute best and these things sometimes happen,” said Sigauke. “You either win or lose a game every time you walk into the park, but when you do lose, you should learn something from that.

“I bet, in a couple of years, we will look back at this particular game and moment, and see there were lessons to take away from it. This was a very young team, which we had, and we went out there and did our best.”

Sigauke seems to have mastered turning setbacks into brand-new starts.

It has been roughly seven days since the Barthes Trophy ended and he has since turned his focus on the Sharks Academy in South Africa, where he is undergoing trials.

A brief chat with the Zimpapers Sports Hub brought out a couple of interesting nuggets about this speedy winger-cum-centre.

The former Lomagundi and Hillcrest College learner is a huge Amapiano fan, something that makes his move to South Africa rather perfect.

Sigauke is a Chiredzi boy and describes himself as a hard worker, goal-oriented and possibly the most charismatic person one will ever meet.

He is a self-confessed mummy’s boy, but vowed to rebut such a claim should the subject ever crop up in public.

The most interesting bit to come out of the chat was Sigauke’s penchant for turning every setback into a new beginning and taking time to enjoy the little moments in life.

He views every setback as a floor to his “elevator story”, as he puts it.

Take his rugby origins, for instance.

The sport was not his first love, but one of the numerous feathers he had in his sporting cap. I started playing rugby when I was in Grade Three, but it was not my first love,” said Sigauke.

“I played a host of other sports like the track in which I did the 100 metres and 200 metres, played a little cricket, swam for a bit and played hockey.

“I made my first provincial squad in hockey and aimed to make the Zimbabwe team in athletics when I moved to high school.”

Sigauke went to Hillcrest College on a cricket scholarship, and the turning point for his rugby career came soon after a failure.

The 20-year-old failed to make the Zimbabwe Under-14 Craven Week squad, and received some sage advice from his mentor Tadiwa Muchena that would shape his career.

“I remember crying on my way home after I failed to make the grade, this after having the best season of my life at the time,” he said.

“My mentor, Tadiwa Muchena, then sat me down and told me the selectors probably did not know how good I was and it was up to me to show them.

“At first, I did not get what he meant, but time went on and I finally understood.” Muchena’s advice made such a big impression on Sigauke that he decided to emulate his mentor and switch positions to centre, just as he was doing for Zimbabwe at the time.

While Muchena pointed him in the right direction, another rugby gaffer and legend Bob Mahari then taught him how to love the game.

The lessons these two taught him have stayed with him ever since and came in handy last weekend after yet another setback in his career. It is for this reason that Sigauke has no regrets about his time with the Zimbabwe Junior Sables and, more importantly, he was able to enjoy the experience for the just-ended Barthes Trophy.

“My philosophies or what I stand by don’t really allow me to have regrets,” he said. “Everything is put together by my Lord and saviour, and God aligns my plans so everything works out the way it does for a reason.

“There are things that I wish could have happened, like winning the Barthes Trophy and going to Scotland for the World Cup, but it was probably not our time.”

On playing at home, the Barthes Trophy experience and his time with the Zimbabwe Junior Sables, Sigauke said: “I had a blast.

“It is almost impossible to replicate a home crowd and being on the field in front of my friends, family and the fans literally gave me goosebumps.

“We had good crowds in Kenya last year, but this was something else.”

Sigauke was also a huge hit with the fans as he scored some of the best tries of the tournament, including a brilliant solo run against Namibia.

The attention that came with his performances was another surreal moment for him.

“I wouldn’t say that I became a huge hit, but there were moments,” he said.

“One such example was the game against Namibia where I scored two tries and a fan called me to hand me US$20 after the game.

“That had never happened to me before and I remember kids coming to me to sign things. It was all so humbling and pushed me to perform even better.”

Sigauke then wrapped up the interview with a heartfelt message for his former teammates, family, friends and fans.

“I am eternally grateful to everyone who has supported us (Zimbabwe Junior Sables) during my time and after,” he said.

“To everyone I have played with, talked to or had any sort of interaction with, it has been such an amazing journey and I appreciate each and every one of you.

“This is not the end of the story, just the beginning of a new chapter.”

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