Harare – The Zimbabwe 7s rugby team, the Cheetahs, have their work cut out for them as they attempt to nail a maiden place at the Olympic Games.
The Cheetahs will have to be at their very best to better nine other teams to punch a ticket to the Games at the final qualification tournament, the Repechage Cup, in this weekend.
Zimbabwe failed to make it to Tokyo via two initial qualification criteria, in which Kenya and South Africa made the cut.
South Africa qualified by finishing fourth at the 2019 World Sevens Series while Kenya claimed their place after winning the continental qualifiers.
Uganda and Zimbabwe came second and third respectively at the Africa qualifiers and have been given another bite at the cheery at the Repechage Cup.
Zimbabwe, who have never qualified for the Olympics, have expressed confidence that they finally join the party.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union chief executive Sifiso Made said: “We have a very big chance of qualifying for the Olympics. We have had the best possible preparations under the circumstances. We believe our boys and the coach (Daniel Hondo) have what it takes to make the grade.”
The Southern Africans will have to be wary of their weighty opponents in Pool A, where they face Mexico, Samoa, Ireland and Tonga with the top two teams progressing to the semis.
While Zimbabwe attempt to qualify in the men’s category, another Southern African team, Madagascar will be out to make it in the female section where two teams will qualify for the Olympics.
Madagascar are in Pool C together with Colombia, Hong Kong and hosts France.
Pool A: Zimbabwe, Samoa, Ireland, Tonga, Mexico
Pool B: France, Hong Kong, Chile, Uganda, Jamaica
Pool A: Russia, Argentina, Mexico, Samoa
Pool B: Papua New Guinea, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Tunisia,
Pool C: Madagascar, Colombia, Hong Kong, France