Focus on Manicaland Rugby
Manicaland Province Rugby is a province on the rise in Zimbabwean rugby. The province’s flagship team Mutare Sports Club has grown from being minnows in Zimbabwe rugby to a rising powerhouse. The Manicaland Rugby Board has been behind this meteoric rise of their Provincial flagship team, aptly called the Shumba’s, Mutare Sports Club. The MRB has been able to achieve some of their objectives because of a pro active and diversified board who each have an area to develop and nurture.
MANICALAND RUGBY FOOTBALL BOARD
The Manicaland Provincial Board and Executive
Patron. Mr S Nyanhete
Provincial Chairperson Mr J Borerwe
Vice Chairperson. Mr T Mwayera
Secretary Mr M Munetsi
Treasurer. Mr M Kapumha
Women’s Chairperson. Mrs Bhaudhi
Women’s Vice Chairperson Ms Chakanya
Media and Publicity. Mr N Dapira
Fixtures Secretary. Mr C Bandi
Grounds and Referees. Mr T Chifamba
Provincial Development Officer Mr B Chombo
The MRB has outlined its Mission and Vision which would see Manicaland becoming the hub of Zimbabwe Rugby.
MISSION – Taking Rugby to the People and Nurturing Talent from grass roots level
VISION – to have rugby for All people in Manicaland by 2024
The MRB said “At the core of our rugby development plan is the four pronged strategy of development where we have set a
- Foundation phase
- Participation phase
- Competition phase and
- Excellence phase.
The development of our rugby hinges more in our getting corporate and social sponsorship to be able to purchase the required kit and equipment for the teams to use, preparation of the various fields for either training or match days and incentivizing our technical teams and players through sustainable stipends and employment attachments thereby developing our rugby to a semi professional outfit. The Schools through NAPH and NASH play a key role the foundation phase as we have created rugby leagues whose players filter into the several rugby clubs we have in the Manicaland Rugby Board. The aim of MRB is to largely focus on the foundation, the grass roots. We want to focus on developing grassroots rugby said Munetsi the Board Secretary
We want to focus more on developing Rugby in primary school, Tertiary Institutions, Universities and Uniformed Forces. After Generating interest we get into PARTICIPATION and COMPETITION levels. Our ultimate goal is to get to EXCELLENCE. It is a process. There has been and upward trajectory in the number of rural schools playing in the Province. We now have 85 Secondary Schools and 67 Primary Schools playing active rugby. This is been made possible by MRB which has been committed to donating second hand rugby balls to marginalised Schools. The community Clubs are also in the increase.
UPSKILLING AND COURSES
World Rugby level one coaching and refereeing courses have been held in Mutare in our quest to empower and develop our coaches and officials and administrators. Strength and Conditioning courses and Sports Administration courses have been conducted courtesy of Zimbabwe Olympics Committee and ZRU.
MRB DEVELOPMENTAL TOURNAMENTS
In our quest to develop Rugby in the province a number of Tournaments have been held in Honde Valley, Mutare District, Mutare, Makoni, Chipinge and Marange. Because of the vast expanse of our province we have set up several rugby boards in the districts found in the Province. These were set up in Mutare, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutasa, Nyanga, Makoni and we are working on spreading our wings to Buhera District and that is still a work in progress. Manicaland province has eight competitive senior men’s rugby teams and eight women’s rugby teams that play in the Provincial league.
Men’s Rugby teams
2. Old Crestonians
3. Mutare Polytechnic College
4. Eastern Giants
6. Africa University
7. Mutare Teachers College
8. Mountain Lions
Women’s Rugby Teams
2. Sahumani Bullets
3. Eastern Giants
4. Mutare Girls High
5. Sahumani Girls High
7. Old Crestonians
8. Mutare Polytechnic College
All the teams play in the very competitive Manicaland Rugby League which runs parallel to the schools rugby league. With the vibrancy of the Manicaland Rugby league some of our technical staff and players have been selected into the National teams set up and have represented the Province well and continue to do so. Mackenzie Munetsi was selected as a National Sevens team selector from 2019, Brandon Chombo was also appointed as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for the national sevens team. In schools rugby the Province has continued to produce top quality players from the Under 14’s up to Under 20 Junior Sables. The most recent schools players selected were ;
- Alfred Gara (U14) – Hillcrest College
- Makanaka Charamba (U19) – Hillcrest College
- Gary Kagande (U19 vice captain) Hillcrest College
- Catherine Murangwa U18 Girls
- Jestina Ncube U18 Girls
Mr Crispen Mhike had been the U17 National Manager for several years before his move to Harare province. Our senior players and officials have made great in roads into the National team structures with four of our senior men’s players being selected into the Zimbabwe Goshawks Sevens team that took part in the Kwese Sevens and Zambia Lusaka sevens tournaments. These are;
- Gideon Muyambo
- Dylan Jera
- Tinotenda Nyawasha and
- Brighton Matiashe
Three of our players from the province are part of the national sevens (Cheetahs) and fifteens (Sables) teams set up and between them have raked up no less than 30 caps for Zimbabwe Rugby. The three are ;
- Ngoni Chibuwe
- Martin Mangongo
- Godwin Mangenje
The three players currently ply their rugby trades in the European foreign lands and continue to represent the country on the international stage. The most recent being the Sevens rugby World Cup held in San Francisco were Ngoni Chibuwe starred and the Victoria cup tournament which Zimbabwe won in 2019.
Gideon Muyambo, patience Tsamphwayi and Eve Hatirambwi have scaled the match officials ladder and are now in the Zimbabwe Rugby Referees top panels. They have officiated rugby games and have been duly recognized and rewarded by the referees board by being selected into the High performance panels and appointments to International tournaments such as the Kwese International Sevens and the largest school s rugby tournament in the world The Dairibord Schools rugby festival held at Prince Edward School. Gideon Muyambo was awarded the most promising referee of the year at the Zimbabwe referees annual awards ceremony held in Harare recently.
Our women’s rugby development continues to gather pace with two of our girls from Honde valley and Sahumani being chosen to represent Zimbabwe U18 girls and Zimbabwe U20 girls in tournaments in South Africa. The development of girls rugby has also been in the spotlight for keeping the girls active and discouraging early child marriages and providing the girls with rugby career opportunities. The future looks very bright for the Province as the Manicaland Board looks to capacitate its ranks. The board continues to organise rugby games and tours for the teams and provide opportunities for the players to be selected into the high performance teams such as the Sables and or Cheetahs. The coaches and match officials are being appointed to national appointments. This bodes well for the future of Manicaland rugby and indeed for Zimbabwe rugby.