The Sunday News

Mehluli Sibanda in Johannesburg, South Africa

ZIMBABWE are no longer on course for automatically qualifying for the 2020 Olympics after the Cheetahs were beaten 21-12 by Uganda in the semifinals at Bosman Stadium on Saturday.

The Cheetahs will now meet Madagascar in the third place playoff and should they claim the bronze, they stand a chance to book a spot in the Olympics via the repêchage tournament to be held in June next year. Kenya and Uganda will play each other in the final whose winner is guaranteed a spot at next year’s Olympics while the loser goes to the repêchage tournament.

Against Uganda, Zimbabwe were the first to score when Hilton Mudariki went over for an unconverted try. Zimbabwe however conceded two tries, which saw the East Africans lead 14-5 at halftime. Uganda scored yet again at the start of the second half to lead 21-5. Speedster Tafadzwa Chitokwindo did show some glimpses of brilliance when he burst through to score a try but it was already too late as the Ugandans held on for victory.

Zimbabwe had come out of the group stages with a 100 percent record after wins over Nigeria, Zambia defeated Nigeria (47-0), Zambia (19-7) and Madagascar.

Kenya booked their place in the final with a 40-14 thumping of Madagascar who were determined to cause an upset only to run out of steam in the second half.