The Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) has recalled former national rugby team and current Gaborone Hogs coach, Ivor Greaves, to lead the national team, the Vultures, back into Africa.
Greaves, who was the coach of the Vultures from 2007 to 2009, is widely regarded as one of the most shrewd rugby tacticians in the country. During his stint at the helm of the national team, Greaves led the team successfully into Africa and nearly got them to promotion in 2009 only for Zimbabwe to spoil the party, beating the Vultures in a closely contested match.
Greaves will be expected to lead the Vultures as they seek to soar over Africa during the Africa Cup, billed for June 19 in Cameroon.
The Vultures have been placed in Group C where they are expected to battle Senegal, Zambia and hosts, Cameroon, for promotion into group B. Speaking in an interview, BRU President, Bob Lekan, said they had recalled the Gaborone Hogs mentor to lead the team after the departure of former coach, Neal Gouws, who had to resign his post earlier this year for family reasons.
Gouws has since relocated back to his native South Africa.
“We had actually tried to get Greaves back to coach the team last year but we could not get him then,” Lekan said.
He says with the departure of Gouws and a search for a new coach on, they decided to recall Greaves back.
“He (Greaves) had to quit the national team back then due to family problems and we had no problem convincing him to come back. He is very much qualified to lead the team as he has been there previously and is also very experienced,” Lekan said.
The BRU president has, however, said there is no pressure on the coach and his newly selected technical bench and no target has been set for the team going into the championships. Lekan says this year is a new start for the vultures as the team seeks to rebuild for the future.
For his part, the newly appointed Vultures coach said going into the Africa Cup in Cameroon, the team will be hoping to get the best possible results they can garner.
“Realistically, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in a very short space of time ahead of these games. The group we are in is not easy but history shows that the Vultures can make it in Africa,” Greaves said in an interview.
The coach further said looking back at when he started coaching the national team back in 2007, there has been a good shift forward. “Back then, we were still very inexperienced and only had the basics. Things have changed since then and we now see a lot of development and participation in rugby at club level,” Greaves continued.
He says while in 2007 they struggled upfront, it was a very much changed situation in 2009 as their frontline was very much improved and competitive.
This time around, the coach will have a good pool of players to choose from and will have to see how to balance his team, which is brimming with exceptional talent, more especially at the back. Meanwhile, the national rugby team, which has been training since this past Wednesday, is expected to play a friendly game in South Africa next week on Saturday. The provisional squad will be expected to be trimmed after the game to choose players who will make it to Cameroon.