By Ricky Zililo
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) to terminate national team coaching contracts, with the exception of the Sables.
Contracts for Sables coach Brandon Dawson and his technical team expire in 2023.
ZRU chief executive Sifiso Made last Thursday notified technical team members of the Zimbabwe Sevens, Goshawks, the Academy side and all junior national sides that they are cancelling contracts due to inactivity.
ZRU president Aaron Jani said following the scrapping of national team programmes due to Covid-19 pandemic, they have to use the remainder of the year to start a rebuilding exercise in preparation for the 2021 international season.
Jani said they will advertise for the vacant national team jobs later in the year.
“We need to restructure for the future and we hope these moves will give us the results we want which is to qualify for the 2023 World Cup and to improve our rankings in all our national teams. For example, Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby is ranked about seventh and is now in Pool B of the Bathes Trophy despite four years of winning this cup,” said Jani.
“Also, we don’t have a uniform coaching style or ethos that will promote common values and techniques. As a result, we do not have continuity and don’t share common values. We have some coaches who have failed to deliver for various reasons. There are some technical teams that are not a natural fit leading to conflict and strife.
“There are also some discipline issues in some sections. We educated and trained a lot of coaches in the last few years and we believe all coaches must get a chance at national duty deployment,” he said.
Jani said they will use the opportunity to align all the lower teams so that they share the same values and general techniques such that when players move to the Sables or Lady Sables, there is smooth transition.
“We have studied the rugby models of South Africa and New Zealand thoroughly. We sent our national coach Brandon Dawson to New Zealand and we had him based in South Africa in 2019 for the SuperSport Challenge where we interacted and were supported by South African Coaches.
“It is now time for Dawson, the ZRU technical committee headed by Brighton Chivandire and the incoming coaches to sit down, agree and develop our own brand of rugby, the Zimbabwean style of rugby,” Jani said.
All restructuring should be done in time to start the 2023 World Cup campaign.
It is not clear whether Cheetahs coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba, coach of the Zimbabwe national side, the sevens, will be retained.
Before the lockdown, Zimbabwe was scheduled to play in the final Olympic qualifying tournament in France in June. The Chronicle