Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Paul Mun­yuki Harare Bureau

SABLES coach Cyprian “Supa” Mandenge feels the young crop of play­ers he took to Hong Kong for the Re­gal Ho­tels Hong Kong Cup of Na­tions tour­na­ment will carry the coun­try’s game for­ward as they have ex­hib­ited an ap­petite for pos­i­tive change.

Mandenge looks for­ward to a fur­ther im­proved dis­play both in per­for­mance and re­sult when the Zim­babwe se­nior rugby side take on Hong Kong in their sec­ond game of the tour­na­ment at the King’s Park Sta­dium to­mor­row.

“Of course there were a num­ber of pos­i­tives we drew from the game but we should not be eas­ily sat­is­fied. The good thing is that I have a young crop of hun­gry play­ers who are hun­gry for suc­cess.

“There is a good spirit in camp, there is a good work­ing ethic that has de­vel­oped, they want to do it (for the coun­try. There are some who re­fused to be part of this team for rea­sons bet­ter known to them.

“But that is okay be­cause I have al­ways wanted to work with a bunch of ded­i­cated play­ers, play­ers who are ded­i­cated to duty and I am happy that is what I have with me right now,” said Mandenge.

Changes have been made to the side that lost 15-19 to top seeded Rus­sia on Fri­day with the likes of young flanker Con­nor Pritchard, hooker Tol­er­ance Zishe and Lawrence Clemin­son com­mand­ing start­ing places.

Pritchard comes in for Njab­ulo Ndlovu who was in­jured in Fri­day’s opener.

No changes have been made to the back-line with scrummy Kuziwa Kazembe, fly-half Le­nience Tamb­w­era, wings Stephan Hun­duza and Tafadzwa Chi­tok­windo, cen­tres Ri­aan O’Neil and Kudzai Mashawi, and full­back Lungile Tshuma all re­tain­ing their places.

And the for­mer Harare Sports Club coach feels his side will put up a win­ning per­for­mance in the tour­na­ment they are aim­ing to break Zim­babwe’s los­ing streak that has gone for eight games dat­ing back to last year’s Africa Cup loss away to Namibia.

He, how­ever, feels that their im­proved per­for­mance against Rus­sia com­pared to their pre­vi­ous seven games should not be taken as a sat­is­fac­tory re­sult — a win be­ing the coaches’ tar­get.

“I am look­ing for­ward to an even bet­ter per­for­mance. This time around we have had far bet­ter prepa­ra­tions with the for­eign-based play­ers blend­ing in well with the lo­cal play­ers and we have a good bal­ance of play­ers in the squad,” said Mandenge.

Zim­babwe lost 15-19 to Rus­sia on Fri­day

Cyprian ‘Supa’ Mandenge

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