It’s all systems go for this year’s edition of the Dairibord Rugby Schools Festival where a total of 150 schools from Zimbabwe and across the Sadc region are expected to unleash all the action from April 30 to May 6.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
There will be 16 primary schools, 34 girls teams and four teams from Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.
Addressing journalists, the festival director Tawanda Jimu said there was an increase in the number of girls teams participating in the tournament.
“There will be 34 girl’s teams participating in this year’s edition compared to last year where there were 30,” he said. “One of the girls teams coming is from Manicaland called Sahumani.”
He said as a way of pushing quality they invited 150 schools
“This year we are running with quality. Last last year we had a great number. It was fun, it was great. But as they say, quality is not quantity. This year we are pushing quality. Hence we have invited 150 schools to participate throughout the festival from Sunday to Saturday,” he said.
Jimu added that 16 primary schools will play on may 3.
“We have 16 primary schools coming in to play on May 3 for the whole day on the tournament set up,” he said.
To add variety to Zimbabwe’s premier rugby festival, organisers invited three foreign countries.
“We have four foreign teams that is from Zambia, Botswana and Namibia to grace the soil of Prince Edward. We have two from Botswana one from Zambia and another from Namibia.
“From Zambia there is the Zambia Under 19 and Livingstone Kalobe, with Namibia represented by Windhoek Gymnasium while Botswana’s Under 19 will be there also,” he said.
The organisers have invited 120 referees to officiate the matches. There will be female referees as well.
“This year it’s growing bigger and better. We have 120 referees. Like they say without the referees the games won’t begin. Of the referees that are coming through, this year we have invited two international referees from UK, Manchester. I was speaking to them via email, everything was set for them to travel.
Moving with the rapidly changing technology, the festival will be broadcast live on Kyros Facebook Page.
“As the festival is growing, the technology is growing. So this year, the festival will be broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook,” added Jimu.
Dairibord Marketing Executive Mrs Tracy Mutaviri said they have renewed their sponsorship for three more years.
“We have repeated what we have always done, so the renewal will be including the financial support. We have made it to a level that we maintain the quality . So over the years we have been sponsoring to the tune of $182 000,” she said explaining that rugby us a sport where there is less or no hooliganism.
The Zimbabwe Rugby Union Vice president Mr Nody Simbarashe Kanyangarara said the festival is a platform for them to look into adding budding talent on their database.
“We will be adding these youngsters to our database to keep track of them because there are a lot of times when we see them travelling to South Africa to pursue this sport. This will also help us in avoiding cases where some falsify their ages,” he said.
There wont be doping tests this year but education on anti-doping which is topical among sporting athletes.
“The festival organising committee in conjuction with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee have been conducting anti-doping educational programmes for the past three years.
“This year will see the intensification of this all important program with ore-event anti-doping education awareness activities in Harare based teams running throughout the duration of the event. We will however not be having doping tests this year,”
There will be team and individual awards to honour the participants at the festival.