Home » Sports » No Guaranteed Places for Players, Says Mandenge

NEWLY-APPOINTED Sables coach Cyprian “Supa” Mandenge says there will be no guaranteed places for players when the Zimbabwe men’s side gets down to business this year.

Zimbabwe are set to play two home games this year in the Africa Cup and this will be their first step in preparation for the 2019 World Cup whose main qualifiers will be played in 2018.

“There has to be time to rebuild but people love results and all they want is a winning team and that puts pressure on us to a certain degree, so I will have to try and strike a balance between the two.

“Effectively, there will be some senior players that will be dropped along the way to 2019 World Cup main qualifier (in 2018). “By the time we get to the 2019 main qualifiers we should have won the Africa Cup, at least once, and it is against Namibia that we have always struggled. We have come so close to beating them on several occasions but, somehow, we lose in the end.

“We are going to play two games at home this year in the Africa Cup but I feel that by the time we get to the 2019 World Cup we should have won at least an Africa Cup title, we have to make winning a habit and we have to start now.

“Funds permitting it would be good for us to play more games outside the Africa Cup games but at the moment resources are tight but I am sure in the near future we will be able to do.

“Obviously, we have to change our approach to the game because not every opposition we play is the same so the team we have on the day is determined by the opposition we will be playing.

“We would not want to play predictable rugby and as Zimbabwe we all know that our strength is in speed, we have a lot of talented players with speed but that does not mean that will be the only area we will be focusing on.

“We need variation and the main things I look for in players are fitness, discipline and getting the basics right,” said the Old Hararians coach.

The Eaglesvale School sports director took over from Brendan Dawson.

“Over the past years I have learnt a lot from (Brendan) Dawson and other coaches who include Godwin Murambiwa, Brighton Chivandire, John Ewing and many others.

“All I know right now in terms of rugby is because of the knowledge I have acquired from other coaches.

“I will tell you that Dawson was very passionate about his game and he was also a good motivator to the players. So, as a coach, I would also need to watch as many games as possible especially where there is analysis and commentary that helps in learning one or two things.”

Having coached at all levels including schools and clubs, Mandenge acknowledges that being in charge of the national side is the highlight of his coaching career.

“The highlights of my career include winning the national league title several times, including with Old Hararians in 2013, when I was named Coach of the Year but nothing beats being the Sables coach.

“I applied for the post not because I want power or for the sake of having a position, but because of my passion for sport. So when it came I liked the challenges that come with the job, I have been taking challenges head on since I got involved in sport and I also want to see Zimbabwean sport getting to the next level.”

Source : The Herald