Faced with dismal publicity, attributed primarily to lack of basic knowledge and operations of the sport, the Botswana Rugby Union on Friday held a one-day rugby course designed to equip reporters with the basics of the game.
Regarded for sometime as the game for the privileged elite, particularly the local whites, rugby has thus remained dormant and unimpressive in the eyes of ordinary Batswana, with the media also being blamed for lack of reporting.
“Despite its long time existence, rugby in Botswana has remained almost unknown to the ordinary Batswana, including the media houses who seem unknowledgeable to the basics of the game. It is against this backdrop that we found it due that we conduct a course to enlighten you about the operations of the game so as to assist us in disseminating and selling this spectacular game to our people,” noted Zilwele Khumalo, the Botswana Rugby Union Development Manager, adding “without your participation, we have realized our beloved game would remain stagnant in the country”.
“This course is thus intended to equip you with knowledge so that together we expose the sport to many people ÔÇô development which hitherto has been a missing link,” he further noted.
Botswana played their first international game on September 7, 1996 against Zimbabwe, losing 130 to 10.
Their first win came in 2001 in a match against Swaziland, winning 13 points to 3.
Also in 2001, they participated in African qualifying tournaments for the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia. In 2004 Botswana won four internationals in a row, defeating Tanzania, Swaziland, Nigeria and Mali.
Botswana then participated in the Africa qualifying tournaments for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. They were grouped in the Southern Pool of Round 1a, along with nations Zambia and Swaziland. In their first game against Zambia in Lusaka, they lost 28 to 24. However they won their second match 19 to 12 over Swaziland in Botswana. They finished second in the pool and did not advance to the next round.