Ex-Zimbabwe rugby youth international Pride Nyameni has been invited to join the Cheetahs’ training camp ahead of the World Rugby Challenger Series event in Chile in August and ultimately the Rugby World Cup Sevens to be hosted by South Africa a month later.
The 23-year-old Mbare-born is one of the few players from the top Botswana club Spartans RFC who are set to join the Zimbabwe rugby sevens team as they intensify their preparations ahead of a busy international schedule.
Nyameni’s inclusion in the Cheetahs squad comes after he was named the player of the tournament after leading the Spartans RFC club to the Zambezi Sevens Challenge title in Harare in April.
The Gaborone-based Spartans side, which knocked out the Cheetahs in the semi-finals of their home tournament is made up of expatriate Zimbabwean players based in Botswana.
Cheetahs head coach Graham Kaulback confirmed that they would be welcoming some foreign-based players in their upcoming camp, including Nyameni after his recent eye-catching performances.
“Yes, there are some foreign-based players we are inviting to camp. There are a number of players from Spartan Rugby Club in Botswana, who will form part of our camp and be integrated with Cheetahs. They are Zimbabweans and will be given an opportunity to put their hands up for Cheetahs’ selections,” Kaulback said in an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent.
“We know how good Pride is and what he brings to the table which is awesome. He is a good talent and character; we expect nothing less or more from him; it is a good thing to have him in the mix.
“He reads the sevens game well and performs well on the field therefore he will provide a lot of competition in the nine and 10 sweeper playmaker role as there are also some locals based for that role. It’s a healthy competition, so it is a good thing,” Kaulback said.
The new inclusions will be a big boost to the Cheetahs, who in April qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens by finishing as losing finalists in the Rugby Africa Cup Sevens in Uganda.
After taking a short break since securing their World Cup ticket, the Cheetahs squad, which is dominated by locally-based players, recently resumed training to keep their fitness levels high.
The upcoming training camp will provide his technical team with an opportunity to finalise their squad for the upcoming international assignments.
The World Rugby Challenger Series will take place during the weekend of August 12-14, with one ticket on offer to gain promotion to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023.
After the trip to South America, the Cheetahs will immediately shift their attention to the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 to be played at the Cape Town Stadium from September 9 to 11.
“Our goal for the camp is to have a pretty good idea as to who will be selected to travel to Chile for the Challenge Series as well as the World Cup in September,” Kaulback said.
“Our goal is to also advance our gameplay technically and advance cohesion within the group since we have players coming from different parts.
“The camp will finish with an exhibition match at the annual Peterhouse Sevens in Marondera, which will be a good opportunity to grow the game in Zimbabwe, and grow the profile of the Cheetahs Sevens Rugby as two Cheetahs teams will be playing against each other.”