HARARE - Zimbabwe rugby coach Cyprian Mandenge has called on all rugby stakeholders to back him 100 percent if he is to achieve the best possible results.
Mandenge is on a four-year performance-based contract with the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) and has so far got off to a perfect start with Africa Cup Group 1A wins over Kenya (28-20) and Tunisia (19-8).
The side’s performances have, however, not been the best given that they only had a week-long crash programme as build up for the two encounters.
Without an official sponsor and no government support before the coming on board of CBZ before the Tunisia match, the ZRU has not been able to implement the best rewards system to compensate coaches and players.
It has made it difficult to entice the country’s top players plying their trade abroad.
Be that as it may, the patriotic players who have continued to have donned the green and white, hoops have passionately held nothing back for pride alone.
And Mandenge wants to see more being done for his troops.
“I think more should be done because if you look at rugby these guys are putting their bodies on the line for the country,” Mandege told the Daily News.
The former Harare Sports Club coach supplements his earnings as an Eaglesvale High School rugby coach but insists there is no conflict of interest.
“My headmaster is very supportive. He understands that it’s national duty. I think all the companies understand this that’s why players who work elsewhere are being released at their places of work to come and play,” he said.
Mandenge says motivating players is not always easy but being frank helps.
“I think rugby players all they want is to be frank with them and tell them the truth. That’s all they want because you can’t lie to players that we will give you this and that when it’s not there,” he said.
“But we can’t keep on saying sports pays; people should not be told that sport pays they should see that sport pays.”
Zimbabwe now face Rugby World Cup-bound Namibia on August 15 in Windhoek but will need corporate and government support if they are to change their fortunes.