The Botswana National Rugby team is impeded by lack of funds and its own pitch from reaching international competing standards.
This was said by the Botswana Rugby Union Development Manager, Zee Khumalo.
Botswana’s national team, the Vultures, has just finished fourth in the just ended six Nations Tournament held at the UB Stadium on Saturday.
Despite a promising start and fierce fighting during their last match with Zimbabwe, the Vultures were thrashed by their Zimbabwean counterparts 23-3.
This loss may be attributed to lack of training facilities and financing for the national team and inadequate training as the Vultures use the Gaborone Rugby Club pitch for training.
“Currently, the Vultures have no pitch of their own, therefore they have to alternate with Gaborone Rugby Club for its pitch located in Commerce Park,” said Khumalo.
He further said lack of resources also hinders the players from training effectively like other international renowned national teams and clubs.
“If we can get more funding and enough resources, we can definitely perform far much better than we are doing,” he said.
Khumalo, however, remained optimistic that, was Rugby to get enough sponsorship and recognition as local soccer, they would make a lot of improvement, citing the 1 million pula that was scooped by Gaborone United as a motivation to soccer players.
He pointed out that they are doing all they can for the betterment of the sport, saying they have currently engaged a marketing company, Itsheka Sport, to look for sponsors for them. He further said they are carrying the sport to students as they currently have 90 schools involved in the sport.
Dave Gilbert, the Botswana Rugby Union Chairman, also pointed out that lack of facilities and financial support is limiting the growth of rugby. He stated that the vultures have improved a lot as they are currently ranked the most improved team in Africa.
Gilbert said they are in negotiations with the Botswana Sports Council to build their own pitch.
“It is all about how much money we get,” he said.
Rugby, a sport which is reputed to have started accidentally in 1823 at Rugby School , England, is popular in most former English colonies but has since spread to Africa, with South Africa ‘s Springboks being the current champions, having reached the semi-finals twice, in 1999, 1995 and winning in 2007.
The sport is alleged to have started when William Webb-Ellis picked up a ball during a soccer match and ran with it towards their opponent’s side.
The Rugby World Cup, which is held after every four years, is named after him, Web Ellis Cup.