Following the suspension of Intercity Rugby League (ICL) by Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU), Mutare Sports Club is struggling to keep its team intact with players beginning to show signs of de-motivation for lack of playing opportunities.
ICL games were suspended just before the first round ended due to lack of funding and snags in the Zimbabwe Rugby Union.
Mutare, which rose to fame in the ICL after maintaining a clean record in their home ground and winning eight of their ten first round league games, is currently having a torrid time in maintaining the team that had gained significant momentum in the national competition.
“Now with no games in the ICL it’s not easy to get them (players) together but we are trying to keep us together.
“As their coach I am concerned for their livelihood, welfare and safety because when they are together practicing and playing we know what they are up to,” says Mutare Head-coach Mackenzie Munetsi.
Mutare Sports Club Captain, Gideon Muyambo says with the current situation, the pace the club had set in the ICL risks regressing as players are being demotivated to continue training.
“We have already started to see the negative impact in our team as we are seeing low turnout for practice and lack of seriousness, unfortunately from some of our senior guys as well.
“I am really trying to motivate the guys but I can only do so much, at the moment even if we are to organize for a game it will be a struggle, I feel we have taken two steps backwards and we can’t let the standard we have set fall,” Muyambo said.
Vice-Captain Blessing Chizaza believes the suspension of the ICL is prejudice to progress of rugby in the city and also clouds the rugby spirit that had been created in the country.
“This is injustice to the hard-work, commitment and effort of not just Mutare but the Zimbabwe rugby fraternity as a whole.
“This surely dampens the rugby spirit in the country and Mutare being the furthest from all teams will be the worst hit,” Chizaza said.
The ICL was abruptly interrupted with Mutare in the top three on the log standings alongside unbeaten Old Georgians as well as Harare Sports Club.
ZRU Media and Marketing Manager, Raymond Gonte says the ICL remains suspended and this has indeed a negative effect on rugby in the country more-so preparations for the Old Georgians’ Gold Cup campaign.
“The ICL is currently suspended…. The Union is looking at ways to overcome the challenges.
“The last ICL games were played on the fifth of August prior to the Tunisia test match and the inactivity greatly impacts the state of rugby and certainly preparations by Old Georgians for their Gold Cup matches,” Gonte said.