Benedict Chanakira looks at the problems and way forward for Zimbabwe rugby….
Bitter-sweet taste in my mouth. I must admit there is a little, just a little joyful vibe that we failed to make the Rugby World Cup. A 23-15 lose to Russia in a Repechage semi-final in Siberia all but ended the dream. There was disruption unfortunately in the build up to the match as Zimbabwe had key players pull out for various reasons, the national coaches’ wife was also set to travel as part of the squad which was an area of dispute highlighted by the media. In the light of the situation those are matters not meant to be the headlines. While management constantly faced abuse and among them racial abuse. For them to succeed would have been an unjust reward to an undeserving public.
Its the perfect opportunity to rebuild to return to the basics. Having received an influx of quality players in the form of Guy Cronje and Lambert Groenewald will they be the two we rebuild around? Will their availability be a matter of concern? What was shown in the last two months is Zimbabwe have the talent and all that is needed is direction and co-operation from all those involved (players, management, fans and corporate world).
While finance has been the main reason failure has been attributed to by some it is good to put it all into perspective. Sides have managed to perform with limited resources. Look at the Costa Rica World Cup squad? Finances don’t always bring success. They spent $3,4 million compared to England’s $765 million in the development of the game. Yes, finance assists in the campaign but so much more can be thrown into the pot of success. The Union managed to get us to the Qualifications and bar the decision to not to go for a lineout we would have been at the World Cup. A decision that will haunt us forever but one we will learn from.
Our failure was due to much more than financial support. A place at the World Cup would have seen all the dust and fleas swept under the mat. Its time to restructure and sort all the chaos in our game. From communication channels to the long-term vision of the Sport. Come up with a four year plan to attain the 2019 World Cup spot. Is there a constitution? While majority of us are in the dark, we hope the public will be enlightened to where next for Rugby in Zimbabwe.
Whatever happens we await to see what direction our country takes in the pursuit of dominance once again. We appreciate the nation is Tier 2 but so much can be implemented and instilled to take the game forward.