HARARE – The heartbreak of Zimbabwe’s defeat at the hands of Scotland, thus denying the African country Cricket World Cup qualification, isn’t at all lost to Shaun De Souza.

The Zimbabwe Under-20 rugby coach wears his heart on his sleeve. There are decent cricketers in his Junior Sables squad that open the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy against Scotland in Kenya on Saturday.

But it goes beyond that – it’s a wider national mission for former Zimbabwe national team backline ace De Souza.

“Zimbabwe cricket’s dream went up in smoke against Scotland,” De Souza told SportsCast from Nairobi on Thursday.

“This leaves the Junior Sables with a bone to pick in our first pool game against the Scottish at Nyayo Stadium.”

Crowned African champions in two straight years in the same Eastern African country, the young Zimbabweans are back in Kenya aiming to go a level higher in the second-tier of world rugby youth competitions.

And they aren’t fearing nobody.

“We haven’t come here to add numbers,” declared De Souza. “We are in the pool of death, with all three other sides having won this trophy before. Scotland, Uruguay, and the USA are all targeting Zimbabwe as their must-win game, because we are the underdog team in Pool A and the lowest ranked team in the competition. (But) we are going to compete and make history. The boys are in greats spirits.”

The Junior Sables gaffer is desperately grateful for the support his team received from corporate partners, through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

“We are grateful to SRC and Sabre for their support towards our state of readiness,” he said. “We are grateful with the support we have received from sponsors this far. We are hopeful we can still get support towards team allowances and incentives for the players and staff. It would go a long way towards motivation. Yes, we have put in the work since November, we have been working towards this goal. That little extra push can boost morale. This team is back-to-back African champions, but have nothing to show for it.”


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