RUGBY legend Victor Olonga says he is shocked with the way the standards of the game in the City of Kings have deteriorated.
The former Sables player has been tasked by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union to lead an Under-20 Matabeleland player’s performance training programme as the country seeks to defend their Barthes Trophy title in March.
The union is in the process of building a formidable Junior Sables squad with players drawn from around the country.
“In efforts to strengthen and improve performance of the Under-20 Matabeleland players who have been identified through the talent identification window, we have asked Victor Olonga to run high-performance training sessions voluntarily for the Matabeleland region, outside of normal club sessions,” said the ZRU.
“If clubs have any players that have the potential for national selection they are welcome to send the players for the high-performance sessions for assessment.”
The training programme, which is open to every player under the age of 20 will be conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds.
Olonga says the state of rugby in Bulawayo was shocking.
“Bulawayo Province is falling behind, actually very far behind in terms of rugby,” said Olonga.
“So, what we are trying to do is to improve the standards of the game in the province.
“At the moment, the state of the game in the province is shocking.
“I am not being dramatic but it is shocking.”
“Yes, we may talk of not having resources but we have players with the bodies, once we get the bodies in shape then we can perform.
“All hope is not lost though as the dire situation can still be solved.
“The youngsters can be put in the right direction and be allowed to get healthier bodies.
“We can push these youngsters in the right direction through programmes such as this one.
“We are going to run this project in a transparent and accountable way.”
Olonga made his Test debut in 1993 against Wales in Bulawayo where the Sables lost 35-14.
He scored a try in the match.
Olonga went on to play in 14 Tests for Zimbabwe.