HARARE – Nine foreign-based stars have been confirmed as part of the Zimbabwe rugby team for next month’s tri-nation tournament in Namibia against the hosts and Kenya, the Sables management revealed on Monday.
Having named an extended training squad for the end-of-year tour, only the nine have been secured, and travel arrangements have already been complete for the players to arrive in the country this week before camp starts in Bulawayo next Monday.
With seven of the foreign-based contingent plying their trade in Europe, it is the highest number of overseas-based players included in a Sables squad in quite a while.
Prop Nick Winwood will be joined by his uncapped Blackheath RFC teammate Sean Moan, who is an outside centre for the London-based club.
Blackheath plays in the National Division One, the third tier of domestic rugby in England.
Former Zimbabwe youth lock forward Michael Passaportis, who now turns out for French fourth division outfit Valence, will also earn his first test cap on the Namibia tour.
Also confirmed to jet in Harare this week is Jersey loose forward Kingsley Lang, who is a very exciting prospect for the Sables having compiled an impressive resumé on the Australian and English club scene during the past decade. Lang will also be playing for his country of birth for the first time.
Loose forward Andrew Rose, who captains Boroughmuir in the Scottish Premiership, also returns to the team after making his full Zimbabwe debut at the Africa Cup in Madagascar in June.
Towering Cambridge RFU second row Martin Wolfenden, who also won his first cap in Madagascar, also makes the trip home despite not being in the original squad released by the ZRU last week.
Uncapped scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki of the Amersham & Chiltern club in the UK, a former Zimbabwe Under-19 captain, will also make his full international debut in the tri-nation tournament.
Two South Africa-based players, Ballito Dolphins hooker Royal Mwale and Varsity College back row Biselele Tshamala complete the foreign-based list.
Lock Simbarashe Bwanya of Durban club College Rovers has been ruled out through knee injury until end of November while other South Africa-based players named in the initial squad have pulled out due to exam commitments.
Germany-based star back Manasah Sita’s international return has been delayed once again due to unspecified commitments.
The revised provisional squad has been whittled down to 41.
Revised Sables training squad: Tatenda Murwira (OH), Kudzai Mudzekenyedzi (Mat Warriors), Fidel Nyabusha (HSC), Nick Winwood (Blackheath, England), Martin Wolfenden (Cambridge, England), Alfred Sairai (OH), Pieter Joubert (OGs), Jakov Jakov (OGs), Keith Murray (OGs), Royal Mwale (Ballito Dolphins, SA), Jan Ferreira (Mat Warriors), Costa Dinha (OH), Michael Passaportis (Valence, France), Kingsley Lang (Jersey, England), Fortune Chipendo (OGs) Jacques Leitao (OGs), Tawanda Chowe (OH), Andrew Rose (Boroughmuir, Scotland), Biselele Tshamala (Varsity College, SA), Lucky Sithole (Mat Warriors), Phil Machisa (HSC), Ian Armstrong (OGs), Hilton Mudariki (Amersham & Chiltern, England), Teddy Hwata (HSC), Boyd Rouse (OGs), Lenience Tambwera (HSC), Tichafara Makwanya (OH), Garth Ziegler (OGs), Daniel Hondo (HSC), Tatas Mutataguta (OGs), Simbarashe Chirimuuta (HSC), Leroy Mashiri (OH), Sean Moan (Blackheath, England), Takudzwa Chieza (OH), Patrick Tenesi (OH), Shayne Makombe (HSC), Gardner Nechironga (OH), Kudakwashe Chiwanza (OGs), Lungile Tshuma (OH), Tangai Nemadire (OH), Courtney Mwatsiya (Mat Warriors).