Mandenge named new Lady Cheetahs head coach ahead of Olympic qualifiers

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By Sports Reporter

FORMER Zimbabwe senior rugby team head coach Cyprian Mandenge is set for a return to international rugby following his appointment as the new head coach of the national women’s sevens side, the Lady Cheetahs.

Zimbabwe Rugby Union confirmed Mandenge’s appointment in a statement on their social media platforms on Friday.

“The Zimbabwe Rugby Union would like to announce the appointment of Cyprian Mandenge as the Zimbabwe national women’s sevens head coach, (the Women Cheetahs),” ZRU said.

“Cyprian comes with a wealth of experience as a rugby coach and administrator having coached national age groups, the Zimbabwe A team and the senior men’s Sables team. The board and the technical committee would like to wish Cyprian all the best in his new position.”

Mandenge takes over as the Lady Cheetahs head coach from Derek Chiwara, who is now the director of rugby at Falcon College.

The former Sables will immediately get straight to business in his new role as he has very limited time to prepare the Zimbabwe side for the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Pre-Olympic Qualifiers to be played in Zambia from July 1-2.

The top three teams out of the 10 participating nations in Zambia will qualify for the Africa Women’s Sevens Paris Olympics Games 2024 final qualifiers in Tunisia.

Zimbabwe, who finished eighth at last year’s Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens in Tunisia last year, will be banking on Mandenge’s experience as they seek to book their ticket to the continental competition which will be returning to the North African country again.

The multi-talented coach, who has mentored some of the country’s most decorated athletes in rugby, cricket, athletics, boxing, martial arts, and personal fitness training has not coached at national team level since the end of his two-year tenure as Sables head coach between 2015 and 2017.

He has, however, maintained a close connection with local rugby, having been credited with Old Hararians resurgence as a force in domestic rugby

Mandenge is also the sports director at Eaglesvale, who have over the last few years become a force in local schools sports.