Home » Sports » Hunduza, Makombe Honoured

THE past week has been a rather bitter sweet period for two of Zimbabwe’s best rugby backliners who won individual recognition in competitions in which their teams failed to meet their targets.

Both players have a humble character, went to the same school and played First XV rugby before they featured for giants Harare Sports Club in the past two or so years.

Enter Stephan Hunduza a winger who scored a remarkable six tries in his Sevens World Series debut tournament last week in Hong Kong where his eye-catching performance saw him being named in the ‘Dream Team’.

Hunduza was named as one of the top seven players who played in the second tier competition where the Cheetahs failed in their battle to qualify as a core member of the World Series after falling in the quarter-finals with a 17-12 extra time defeat to Italy.

However, his pace and eye for the gap earned him recognition as one of the top sevens players who made it for the ‘Dream Team’ that included two players from Russia, Hong Kong, Italy and Japan.

Hunduza was the only Zimbabwean who was picked for the Dream Team that included the duo of eventual World Series qualifiers Lote Tuqiri and Lomano Lemaki from Japan, Oliveiro Fabiani and Fabizio Sepe from runners-up Italy while Russia had Evgeney Nepeyvoda and Hong Kong’s Yiu Kam Shing.

All this was happening in Asia and the following day his close friend Shayne Makombe was awarded the Backliner-of-the-Year award in South Africa where he was in his Varsity Shield debut season with University of KwaZulu Natal Impi side.

It was an award Makombe really did not think he would get as his main aim was to win promotion into the more prestigious Varsity Cup for next season’s competition but a 26-35 loss to Central University of Technology ended his team’s challenge.

But it was not all lost for Makombe who was voted the ‘Backliner that Rocked’ an award that was voted for by the public, players and the Varsity Shield executive committee giving him something to smile about in his debut season.

He also finished as the top try scorer in the competition with six tries.

The centre, who can also play at wing, says this was a humble reward for the hard work he has put into his playing career over the last few years.

During his days as a schoolboy, Makombe captained Churchill Boys to his side’s famous wins over Prince Edward and St John’s College and he feels he was hard done by the selection process as he failed to represent Zimbabwe at the Under-18 Craven Week Festival in South Africa.

“This mostly reminded me of my days back when I was at Churchill school where I captained the side and we beat the likes of St John’s College despite the fact that we faced a lot of aersity, lack of resources, kit and food.

“It’s not that we have unhealthy competition amongst the three of us but when one of us does well, we take it as a motivational factor and this did not just end during our high school days, it has carried on up to now.”

Hunduza is one of the products of Victor Pekani’s Mbare Rugby Academy who have gone on to produce other top class players for Zimbabwe like Germany-based Manasah Sita and Cheetahs forward Njabulo Ndlovu.

Source : The Herald