HARARE – Despite a bruising 28-58 loss to Namibia at Hartsfield Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday, Zimbabwe rugby captain Denford Mutamangira is still convinced the side is heading in the right direction.
Zimbabwe are still searching for their maiden victory in the Rugby Afrique 2018 Gold Cup competition after four games now and are in danger of getting relegated.
The Sables, who drew with Morocco before losing to Kenya and Tunisia, became the first team in the competition to score four tries against Namibia this year.
However, Peter de Villiers side are now in danger of getting relegated into the second-tier Silver Cup competition.
Zimbabwe sits in fifth on the log with three points, just one place above bottom side Morocco, who are also on three points.
The Sables now need to beat Uganda on August 18 away in Kampala to secure their place in the Gold Cup for next year.
Mutamangira believes the performance against Namibia will spur them on when they travel to Kampala.
“Obviously, we wanted to win but scoring four tries against Namibia shows that this Sables team is good enough to beat any team in the Gold Cup.
“Like I have always said, we have got some good youngsters in the team and we have got a very good potential. I believe in the next year or two, this Sables team, will be the team to beat,” he said.
On the game against Uganda, the Sables captain said: “We just had a chat after the game and we said, ‘Guys, heads up, we have scored 28 against Namibia. It’s not a result that we wanted but going forward, we can go a gear up against Uganda’.
“We cannot score 28 points against Namibia and go out of the Gold Cup without a win. This is really our motivation when we go to Kampala.”
Namibia coach Phil Davies admitted the Sables had given his side a proper test and is now looking forward to the final group game against Kenya at home also on August 18.
If the Welwitschias win that encounter, they will qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.
“This was the hardest game we have had in this Gold Cup. Great credit to Zimbabwe because they played some good rugby but we deserved the win,” the Welshman said.
“It was a good game and it showed how far Zimbabwe has developed but also how far we have come with this young team for the past three years.
“Without a doubt there is a process before we actually go into the tackles, the way we kicked and the way we exited; we didn’t do that smartly and Zimbabwe put us under unnecessary pressure but credit to Zimbabwe because they finished off.
“We have to tidy up a couple of things up; we are pretty happy with the way we train but we just have to be more efficient and effective against Kenya.”