HARARE – World Rugby Hall of Famer and former Zimbabwe captain Kennedy Tsimba wants rugby to match the standards of football at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) following his appointment as rugby coach of the Pretoria institution.

48-year-old Tsimba – who replaces the Springboks’ first ethnic black player Kaya Malotana – was on Saturday named head coach of the Vikings, as TUT’s sports teams are nicknamed.

The Vikings’ rugby side play in the Varsity Shield, a rung below the main competition, the Varsity Cup.

While 2004-established TUTs are still climbing up the ladder, their more illustrious city neighbours, the University of Pretoria, are historically a big name in rugby, and are the alma mater of some of South Africa’s greatest sons in that sport.  

Vikings however have a proud record in football’s Varsity Cup. The Vikings’ are the 2022 champions of football, for a third time, having also been crowned in 2016 and 2018.

“I know it will be an extremely tough challenge as TUT soccer is very strong and has good momentum,” legendary fly-half Tsimba told SportsCast.

“I want to use that momentum to get the rugby to their former glory.”

The “former glory” includes the days of front-rower Bongi Mbonambi, a member of South Africa’s glorious 2019 World Cup-winning squad.

Tsimba, who teamed up with the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup-winning coach Rassie Erasmus at Free State Cheetahs back in the days, is a coach on the rise.

Just a year after leaving his job as director of rugby at St Alban’s College in Pretoria, Tsimba guided the University of Pretoria’s Under-20 team to the Young Guns title of the Varsity Cup section this past season.

The amiable Tsimba is now making the step up in his own ambitious coaching journey, tasked with guiding TUT from the second-tier Varsity Shield to the top-flight Varsity Cup.

It helps that sport, and rugby in particular, runs through his family’s genes.

Richard Tsimba, the Cheetahs legend’s late older brother, is also one of the finest sports stars in Zimbabwe’s history.

The older Tsimba featured at the first two Rugby World Cup editions in 1987 and 1991, where Zimbabwe was the only African team in both tournaments.

While the dazzling Richard was the first black player to represent Zimbabwe, younger brother Kennedy was the first person of colour to captain the country.

The two brothers were in 2012 inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame for their contribution to the sport. At some point, the brothers were two of only three black people on the World Rugby Hall of Fame alongside the late iconic South African president Nelson Mandela.


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