Focus on Manicaland Province
The ZRU Covid-19 Food Relief and Distribution
The Manicaland Rugby board through the chairperson Mr Josiah Borerwe distributed food hampers to six of the active rugby clubs in the province. Mr Borerwe said “In our current trying times of Covid-19 global pandemic, no good deed is considered too small. Through one act of random kindness, it’s all it takes to make a difference in someone’s life. Rugby Africa in June gave Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) 5000 Euros to assist its players as a relief fund.” The ZRU purchased Food hampers and mealie-meal worth 3000 Euros for rugby players, officials and clubs around the country. The hampers were given to all the national team players that are in the country, that is the fifteens as well as sevens men and women together with their technical staff, medical personnel as of 2019. All referees who took charge of international games in 2019 and the ZRU secretariat also got hampers. From the bags of mealie meal purchased, the chairpersons from every province got an allocation, with the numbers determined by the number of registered clubs in that area. The mealie meal is meant to be given to the neediest players in the clubs to mitigate against the effects of the Covid induced lockdowns and losses of earnings and incomes. The remaining 2000 euros from the Covid-19 relief fund will be used for the acquisition of personal protection equipment for players and medical personnel when rugby finally gets the green light to resume.
Clubs that received the Covid-19 food relief are Mutare Sports Club our national rugby league franchise team, Eastern Giants from Dangamvura, Mutare Poly rugby team, Sahumani girls rugby team from Honde Valley, the new kid on the bloc Old Crestonians club that was launched last year and Makoni Country Club rugby team. The clubs and schools each selected players also considering the most vulnerable.
While it might be too early to talk about the resumption of the sport, from our last engagement, ZRU is strategizing on environmental and social sustainability issues to pave way for the smooth resumption of the game, how we can sustain the game post-COVID-19 and also the issue of vulnerable children’s welfare. World Rugby has come up some Return to play protocols which we are working on to align them with the ZRU policies and come out of this situation strongly. The Manicaland rugby story has been phenomenal in the past 10 years. As a board we have managed to revive rugby in the province. It is still work in progress especially on making inroads to rural schools, but through our provincial development officers and stakeholders ,barriers have since been broken. We have the Sahumani girls rugby team that since 2017 has been making headlines after some of its girls got drafted into the national team. We also have two players who are currently playing in the national team who hail from this province, Martin Mangongo and Ngoni Chibuwe. We have had past players the likes of Prayer Chitenderu, Augastine Mberi to name a few, who also played for the national team. Our quest is to have more and more aspiring players from Manicaland gain exposure, but to do this effectively we need to have sound structures in place.
We appreciate the funding from Rugby Africa and hope to see more funds of that kind coming through when rugby resumes. Limited financial resources have been the biggest blow to fully develop Zimbabwean rugby. We have suffered from a lot of talent exodus, but we hope to soon see the Sables playing again at the World Cup.