Tsimba takes up Varsity Shield coaching role with TUT Vikings

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Kennedy Tsimba

Zimbabwe rugby legend Kennedy Tsimba has been appointed as head coach of the Tshwane University of Technology’s TUT Vikings rugby team ahead of the new Varsity Shield season.

The World Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee moves to the TUT Vikings after a successful stint as head coach of the Tuks Young Guns at the University of Pretoria.

Under Tsimba’s tutelage, Tuks won the Young Gun Tournament beating Northwest 22-14 in the final played in Stellenbosch in April.

Tsimba has also previously worked as a defence, kicking and skills specialist with the Tuks Varsity Cup team two years ago, before the competition was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The former Free State Cheetahs and Blue Bulls flyhalf will now take another positive step in his coaching career by leading the TUT Vikings in the 2023 Varsity Shield campaign which gets underway in February.

The University of Technology confirmed Tsimba’s appointment in a statement on Saturday.

“The wait is over, and the TUT Vikings’ new head coach has been named! On Saturday, November 5, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) announced that the 2022 Varsity Cup Young Guns winning Coach Kennedy Tsimba is the new head coach of the TUT Vikings,” the university said in a statement.

Tsimba said he is relishing the opportunity to contribute to the success of the TUT Rugby Vikings’ rugby programme.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to manage the achievements and successes as well as the challenges of these rugby players to become exceptional future-ready graduates,” Tsimba said.

Kennedy Tsimba enjoyed tremendous success with the Tuks Young Guns last season

Once considered amongst the best flyhalves in the world, Kennedy is the young brother of the late Richard “Black Diamond” Tsimba – the first black player to represent Zimbabwe in international rugby and a veteran of two Rugby World Cups (1987 and 1991).

Kennedy became the first black player to captain Zimbabwe when he took over from Brendan Dawson in 1998. He also represented his country of birth at Rugby World Cup Sevens 1997 in Hong Kong.

He signed off in 1999 with four Sables caps to his name, but his silky skills still had a platform on which to shine at club and provincial level. In 1997 Kennedy’s career took him to the UK, where he enjoyed a brief spell at Bath.

A product of the Prince Edward High School conveyor belt of rugby talent, Kennedy really came to prominence when he moved to South Africa where, at his peak, he was peerless.

He played Super 12 rugby for the Blue Bulls, producing many stellar performances.

But the dazzling fly half reserved his best rugby for the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs, breaking a Free State record for the most points scored in a season (228), a feat which earned him the Currie Cup Player of the Year award in 2002.

He received the same honour again in 2008. ‘The King of Bloemfontein’ – as he was affectionately known – holds the South African record for the fastest player in first-class history to reach 1,000 points.

Kennedy spent the twilight of his illustrious career at Griffons, before finally hanging up his boots in 2011 to concentrate on coaching, charitable work and his second love – music.

Having been inspired by watching two of his mentors – Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber – guide the Springboks to the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Tsimba took a step up in his own coaching career after being appointed as director of rugby at St Alban’s College.

This came after a role as assistant coach with the Cheetahs in the 2011 Super Rugby season and coaching the Rustenburg Impala.

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