Women Rugby players from across the African continent will descend into the country at the end of May for a two day Rugby Sevens Africa championships. The hosting of the championships adds to what promises to be an interesting month for women sports in Botswana. During the month, Botswana will also host the 7th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women and Sports.
The two events will be hosted within a space of seven days between each other, with the IWG Conference billed for May 17 ÔÇô 20 and the Women Seven’s Africa Championships on May 27 ÔÇô 28.
According to Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) Secretary, Ernest Mantsi, the Women’s Rugby Sevens championship could not have come at a perfect time for Botswana. Mantsi said they will be able to tap into the hype created by the IWG conference to build support for women rugby in the continent and Botswana in particular.
“For about two to three years now, our women rugby team has not been participating in this tournament and because of IWG I know we will get great exposure more so that it is a women’s tournament,” said Mantsi.
He added that as Botswana Rugby, they have always supported IWG and they will be part of their workshop, noting that they will also be shifting in to help empower women. Meanwhile, BRU president, Lesedi Keekae, said that the local women’s sevens team is preparing well for the championships.
He said the team has been in camp for a month now, while players have been competing in the ongoing league which he said will give them match fitness. “We are also preparing international friendly games, hopefully against Zimbabwe and South Africa as a way of also preparing our women for the tournament,” said Keekae.
The same sentiments were echoed by Mantsi, who noted that even though preparations are ongoing and things are on a positive note, they are still busy looking for sponsors. Mantsi said so far, they have had some good Samaritans who have only promised to lend them a helping hand. The BRU secretary has appealed to those with resources to partner with them.
At least ten countries, including Rugby powerhouses South Africa and Kenya, are expected to compete during the Women Seven’s Africa Championships. Other participating countries are Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Mauritius, Madagascar, Senegal, Morocco and hosts Botswana.