HARARE – Zimbabwe rugby selectors have trimmed down the Sables squad to 29 ahead of next month’s tri-nations tournament in Windhoek with hosts Namibia and Kenya.
The Sables will begin camp in Bulawayo on Friday before leaving for the Namibian capital early next week via Harare.
Prop Kevin Nqidi and lock Graham Logan – both former Zimbabwe Under-19 players – are the only players who did not feature in the original training squad named last month. Nqidi turns out for Cape Town club Belhar while giant second row Logan has recently won a place into Varsity Cup side UP-Tuks following an impressive season for the University of Pretoria.
Other uncapped players in the squad are the Europe-based forwards Michael Passaportis and Kingsley Lang as well as scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki of English club Amersham & Chiltern.
The biggest casualties in the team were former skipper Costa Dinha, whose international career appears over at the ripe age of 37, and his Old Hararians club mate Alfred Sairai, who looked set to make a return to the green-and-white of Zimbabwe after a lengthy period.
Five non-traveling reserves will be dropped from the 29-man squad.
Meanwhile, the Sables technical department has confirmed experienced Harare Sports Club centre Daniel Hondo as Zimbabwe’s new substantive captain.
The former Zimbabwe Sevens star will now lead the Sables up to next year’s crucial World Cup qualification tournament in Madagascar.
Hondo will be deputised by flank Jacques Leitao, his long-time Zimbabwe Sevens and Sables teammate.
Forwards: Nick Winwood (Blackheath, England), Pieter Joubert (OGs), Kevin Nqidi (Belhar RC, SA), Fidel Nyabusha (HSC), Jakov Jakov (OGs), Keith Murray (OGs), Royal Mwale (Ballito Dolphins, SA), Jan Ferreira (Mat Warriors), Michael Passaportis (Valence, France), Martin Wolfenden (Cambridge, UK), Graham Logan (UP-Tuks, SA), Kingsley Lang (Jersey, England), Jacques Leitao (vice-captain; OGs), Andrew Rose (Boroughmuir. Scotland), Fortune Chipendo (OGs).
Backs: Daniel Hondo (captain; HSC) Hilton Mudariki (Amersham & Chiltern, England), Phil Machisa (HSC), Boyd Rouse (OGs), Lenience Tambwera (HSC), Tichafara Makwanya (OH), Sean Moan (Blackheath, England), Simba Chirimuuta (HSC), Steven Hunduza (HSC), Gardner Nechironga (OH), Kuda Chiwanza (OGs), Shayne Makombe (HSC), Lungile Tshuma (OH), Tangai Nemadire (OH).