Visiting South African rugby clubs have pledged their support to see the sport grow in Zimbabwe.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The sport at the moment is in the shadows of other disciplines such as soccer, netball to mention but the few.
Visitors participating at the Kyroos Super Rugby Weekend namely Emirates Lions, Stormers, Toyota Cheetahs and Vodacom Bulls paid a courtesy call to the Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane on Friday.
The four teams will battle it out on Saturday through Sunday at the National Sports Stadium and the matches will be officiated by the Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Speaking at the meeting, a Bulls representative said their club is ready to help the Zimbabwe rugby union.
“There are a number of opportunities that we could work together. I think the greatest challenge is funding and co-operation. If Zimbabwe Rugby Union can be assisted in some way. In principal the Bulls are preparing to make opportunities available for coaches to be shallowed up and we are prepared to send some coaches and administrators to Harare,” said a Bulls representative.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Nyararai Sibanda said this show of commitment will help improve the local rugby.
“In this partnership we want to appreciate that they have seen the need. Its part of our growth pathway to grow fans. These big interventions will actually ensure that fans enjoy top-flight rugby.
“We are creating these partnerships, the treasury and we will pursue them religiously to ensure we come from bottom of the hip to top of the hip.,” he said.
He also urged Zimbabweans to attend the matches.
“Please come in your numbers. This is a must see for everyone. You will never get it better. The TV experience is not the same as being in the stadium,” said Sibanda.
Sibanda also said they hope the pledges made will come into fruition.
“We are obviously going to structure all pledges that have come through. We already are in conversations discussions with some of the provinces. We want to structure that.
“We welcome them and they must be results based. We obviously want to see the results instantly,” he said.
Minister Hlongwane noted that exchange programs are necessary to assist the local rugby.
I see an opportunity in terms of attachments with the Zimbabwe rugby union. Attachments of coaches, referees.
If you discuss with these clubs you could be able to get into some form of arrangement where some of our local coaches, referees, local managers, local technical staff including athletes themselves could be attached to these clubs as a way of assisting the development of rugby in Zimbabwe.