It was only just a dream after all!
The Sables failed to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup after being outclassed by Namibia 34 – 19.
Zimbabwe were never in the driving seat as they kept chasing the Namibians.
Although the Sables managed to score three tries, there was never any indication that they would cause enough problems to worry their fellow Southern Africans.
It should be time for serious decisions to be considered now on such issues as development, going pro and retaining foreign-based professional Sables so that the team will maintain a core in the following years.
It is unfortunate that what was witnessed yesterday is a story that has constantly repeated itself; a tale of being so near yet so far.
There are issues that need to be addressed, for instance, having a substantive hooker, a proper fly-half and a consistent scrum half (although Hilton had a decent game versus Namibia.)
It could also be time to question whether or not Brendan Dawson has what it takes to take the team forward.
The team has experimented on countless times and the fluidity has on many occasions been flawed even in winning efforts.
What this has done is make our most significant wins seem so basic and not as dominant as they should have been. A simple example is on kicking.
Zimbabwe keeps on losing on the big stage because of a certain system that is in place which can easily be noted as an elitist mentality which excludes the basis of pure talent but seeks obedience, charisma and unquestioning players.
It seems that the more obedient and unquestioning a player is, the more they play for the sables.
There are many talented Sables out there but unfortunately, some have been blackballed for challenging the system.
Some players simply play because they are darlings of the system but when it comes to being good enough, well, there is a sharp contrast.
Selection needs to be fair, payments need to be fair and the nation’s best interest has to be put first.
Also, expecting professional results whilst hiding behind the, “we are still amateur or semi-professional” tag has to be thrown away.
Why then have we not yet turned pro as a nation?
There is need for the ZRU, Sables Trust or whoever is stirring the ship right now to seriously consider going professional.
With the many coaches around, turning professional will certainly help to identify talent from the coach to players.
We might then have a situation where coaches won’t have to be recycled and maybe coaches might get proper employment rather than having a pack of good coaches lining up for menial Craven week and Academy week coaching jobs.
The mentality has to change.
Just because the machine is not well oiled, it was only a matter of time before it crashed and like it has been the tale in recent years, Zimbabwe failed to jump a hurdle despite the confidence and hype attached to the team.
The dream will one day become a reality if we one day choose to make serious changes that are good for rugby.
We continue to wait for the day when that will be achieved, in the meantime, it’s good luck to the Sables in the 3rd and 4th place playoff!