Friday, December 1, 2023

Rugby Africa piggybacks on international women’s meet

Rugby Africa has hitched its campaign to promote women’s rugby on the coat-tails of the international Working Group on Women and Sports in Botswana scheduled for Gaborone next month.

The campaign is Rugby Africa response to a call promote women’s rugby made by the World Rugby General Assembly in London last year. The association has organised a two day forum on women in rugby leadership and a tournament to coincide with the International Working Group on Women and Sports in Botswana meeting.

The two-day forum on women’s leadership in rugby will be held in Gaborone Botswana on May 22-23 just before the opening of the Women’s Rugby Sevens African tournament that will take place on May 26-27.

As part of the campaign, Rugby Africa has also declared month of May as “May Women’s Rugby Month in Africa”.

Africa Rugby says the choice of dates and venues was deliberate because Rugby Africa seeks to capitalize on the International Working Group on Women and Sport billed for May 17th and 20th in Gaborone.

The push is to spur the growth of women’s rugby and increase the number of female rugby players.

The two day forum will workshop on the contribution of women in sport, their role in the technical support of teams and their part in management structures of rugby in Africa.

Ruby Africa says it is evident that Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world in women’s rugby. Rugby Africa pointed out that Africa has failed send teams to the Women’s Rugby World Cup except for South Africa which will participate in the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco in July.

World Rugby, Director for Womens Rugby   Katie Sadleir  indicated that the management team of Rugby Africa intends to change this situation and plans to work with the most motivated federations to create centres of growth for women’s rugby in Africa and to establish as quickly as possible role models to be emulated.

Sadleir said that the forum for women’s rugby in Africa was an opportunity not to be missed.

“The increasing involvement of women in rugby presents the single greatest opportunity for our sport in the next decade. It is critical to World Rugby’s vision of a ‘sport for all, true to its values’ and its mission to grow the global family .Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth and participation levels are at an all-time high. Women’s rugby in Africa is leading the way in terms of numbers of female players registered globally. This important conference hosted by the Botswana Rugby Union will enable the leaders of the region to take the next step in accelerating the development of women in rugby in Africa,’ said Sadleir.

The teams that will be participating at the Gaborone tournament will use the competitions as a stepping stone to qualify for the Olympic Games to be held next year.

Teams from South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Madagascar, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Uganda and the host Botswana are expected to battle out in Gaborone.

Botswana Rugby Federation, President Dave Gilbert said, “It is wonderful for Botswana Rugby to showcase Women’s Rugby and be part of the future pathway for these female athletes. The Botswana Rugby Union and the Botswana National Sports Commission are very excited to be organizing and hosting this event which is the first of its kind in Rugby in Africa “,said Gilbert.

Rugby Africa President Abdelaziz Bougja shared similar sentiments saying, “Women’s rugby is a real challenge in terms of development and competitions. We look forward to discussing this with the most active federations on the continent and to bringing women’s rugby up to the next level. Women’s rugby is without doubt top of Rugby Africa’s priorities for the years to come and without women we will not be able to develop rugby, attract new fans and new players”.


Read this week's paper