By RONALD CHAWE -
THE Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) has attached South Africa rugby giants Golden Lions former head coach Neill Nortje to the Zambia 7s rugby squad which will this year take part in the Commonwealth Games.
Also joining the former Zimbabwe 7s fly-half star player to the Zambian bench is former Zambia and Diggers’ star Armitage Nyondo as well as veteran coach Musa Zimba.
The three will help Zambia 7s head coach Musonda Kaminsa and his assistant Willis Magasa drill the national 7s team this year.
According to RG Sports Management (RGSM), who are managing the Zambia 7s squad, the appointment of Nortje was a positive move which would build technical bench this year.
RGSM Director Ronnel Armengol, who was a peer to Kaminsa and Nyondo, these were exciting times for Zambian rugby and that appointments would raise the team’s competitiveness and stand strong at even a tough tournament like the Commonwealth Games.
He said Zimba, who coached both him and Kaminsa at Lusaka, would be overseeing the coaches by provide mentorship.
He maintained that Kaminsa and Magasa would continue in their roles as Head and assistant coaches but will only get support from Nortje and Nyondo.
He explained that the new supporting staff will assist in player condition, skills, video reviews and many other aspects on the modern game.
“We realised that Kaminsa and Willis Magasa had a mammoth task of drilling the team and needed additional support to ensure that they could provide the best possible services to our players,” he said.
He said his team is looking forward to the challenges 2018 so that they better last year.
The national 7s decent showing last year saw them qualify for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games set for April this year in Australia.
He said the team’s first tour would be the Royal Bafokeng 7s, in Sun City, South Africa in March before the Victoria Falls 7s in Zimbabwe in the same month and then flying to Australia for the Commonwealth Games in April.
He said the SA tour will be a perfect test for the team since there would be strong competition from other teams from South Africa, Italy, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
“The year 2018 is an exciting year and will be the first time Zambia will be competing in the Commonwealth Games. We will have the chance to meet global powerhouses like South Africa, England, New Zealand, Fiji, Kenya to name but a few,” he said.
He said former springbok Willem Strauss, who is the Tournament Director had assured Zambia of an exciting Royal Bafokeng 7s tournament and that he was excited to have Zambia among the participants.
South Africa is the 2017 HSBC World Series champions.
And Nyondo said he was excited to be involved with Zambian rugby again and promised to work hard and ensure that the team builds on last year’s success.