The Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) and Kwese sports, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless, on Wednesday announced a five year partnership deal for the Kwese sports eight team international sevens rugby tournament that will be held on the 18th and 19th of March this year.
By Tongai Mwenje
The international sevens rugby extravaganza will be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
The new deal which represents the largest ever for the 7s rugby in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular will include the tournament content across Econet Media’s TV, Internet and mobile assets, including the recently launched Kwesé sports viewing platforms in Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia.
Speaking at the press conference held at Crowne plaza hotel in the capital on Wednesday afternoon, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Nyararai Sibanda said that the concept was realised at a council meeting for Rugby Africa held late last year upon discussions with Econet Media sports offering, Kwese sports.
Asked on why they chose Victoria Falls venue, Sibanda said the initiative is aimed at broadening the game while promoting and developing sports tourism in Zimbabwe.
“Our aim is to move the sport to all four corners of the country and also to promote and develop sport tourism hence the decision to secure the event at a venue like Victoria Falls,” said Sibanda.
Kwese sports’ head of production Louwrens Rensbug who represented the company during the unveiling ceremony said: “We were involved in the Namibia Sevens and we just thought, from a regional point of view and as a pan-African broadcaster, Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens was a good choice.
“The Zimbabwe Sevens rugby side has competed regularly on the world circuit and we hope that our contribution, from a broadcasting point of view, will help not only the growth of Sevens rugby, but also help boost sports tourism in Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is a fantastic place, we were out there a couple of weeks ago, it is an absolute treasure that Zimbabwe has to showcase to the world,” he said.
Accoding to ZRU president, Nyararai Sibanda preparations for the hosting of the inaugural tournament were already underway, as they had already set up a local organising committee.
“We have a local organising committee headed by Victor Rakabopa [Matabeleland North provincial chairperson] that is working hard to put the event together. There are busy on the ground taking care of the necessary logistics to ensure that everything is in place. Other than Kwese Sports, we have other partners that are coming on board that will make this event possible and successful. We look forward to seeing the tournament growing and ensure it becomes a regular feature on the World Rugby and Rugby Africa calendar,” he said.
The launch of the Kwesé Victoria Falls Sevens comes after Zimbabwe endured a disappointing Africa Cup campaign, finishing behind eventual champions Uganda, Kenya and Namibia.
The event comes at a time Zimbabwe is hoping to build a side that will compete for Tokyo 2020 Olympic games qualification as well as challenge for core status on the International Rugby Board sevens circuit.