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ZIMBABWE women’s coach Abigail Kawonza said their preparations for the Confederation of African Rugby Sevens 2014 campaign are in their final phase with the final squad set to be announced tomorrow. The CAR Sevens Africa Cup will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Zimbabwean team is scheduled to leave for the East African country this Sunday.

This will be the second time that the Zimbabwe team, who are now called ‘the Lady Cheetahs’, are taking part at this event which is the most important tournament for most countries.

Last year Zimbabwe came fifth in the six-team competition but this time they are hoping for an improved performance.

“I am thrilled about where the team is now but the reassuring thing is we have got a week in Nairobi were we can polish up the rough edges.

“We are continuing with the gym sessions at Pro- Fitness Gym until we leave for Kenya.

“We want to ensure that our conditioning is at par with other countries, we have also heightened the field sessions as well in the preparations, but unfortunately we are not in camp as there is no funding.

“There are a couple of new faces, including Rudo Maphosa from Airforce Rugby Club, who joined the squad this year and her strength will be an asset to the forwards. Chengetai Katumha from Police is making a comeback and her strength will definitely bolster the backline.

“It is our second time participating in this tournament. Last year it was held in Tunisia and we came fifth and this year we hope to come back with a better ranking as we chart our path to the qualifiers in 2015,” said Kawonza.

Zimbabwe have been drawn into a competitive pool with Tunisia, who are ranked second in Africa, third seeds Uganda and Namibia, who were not part of last year’s competition.

Zimbabwe’s first fixture will be against Namibia on April 12 and they stand a chance of winning as they are more experienced than their Southern Africa counterparts.

“Since we are more experienced than Namibia we are hoping for a win, but we cannot rule out any team at the moment, this tournament is going to be hard we will definitely brace ourselves for a battle,” said Kawonza.

The great thing about the CAR tournament is that it is well known for making sure development for coaches and teams is maintained and grows in Africa.

“We are looking forward to the tournament as it also going to provide a lot of learning and training, then gauging progress with the tournament,” said Kawonza.

Zimbabwe training squad:

Precious Marange, Tariro Marufu, Tatenda Chitewe, Jacqueline Chironga, Barbara Shumba, Rumbidzai Chabveka, Charity Mucucuti, Ruvimbo Musere, Precious Pazani, Margaret Magwaro, Rachel Tembo, Chengetai Katumha, Rudo Maphosa, Gertrude Masora, Brenda Sarupinda.

Source : The Herald