Sunday, July 3, 2022

Two more teams resign from rugby league

The Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) is resigned to losing more teams from its Division A league when the league resumes on the 23rd of this month.

With only two weeks to go before the resumption of the league, the BRU says two of the teams that competed in the country’s top tier Division A league, Gantsi Rugby Club and the University of Botswana (UB) White Rhinos have resolved not to compete in the elite division.

The loss of the two clubs will mark a second successive year that the league will lose teams in the elite division and will now reduce the number of teams in the division to five.

Last year, the league lost the Ghetto Sharks of Francistown and the Desert Whales of Thebephatshwa who were both scrapped from existence following Botswana Defense Force (BDF)’s restructuring process that saw the army reducing the number of its sports teams to counter its shortage of personnel.

Speaking in an interview, BRU President Bob Lekan said the two clubs have already notified the BRU office of their resolution.

“Gantsi have verbally informed us that they will not be competing in the league anymore. We have requested them to write to us to explain why and we are waiting for them to do as such. As for the White Rhinos, we have been informed that the UB Rhinos can no longer afford to have two teams in the elite division due to financial difficulties hence the decision,” the BRU President explained.

While not entirely privy to what may have caused the decision of Gantsi to resign from the league, the BRU President said he believed that as with the White Rhinos, the decision may be due to financial problems for the club.

“Unfortunately, as the BRU, there is very little we can do to help our clubs with funds. The only funds we get from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB) are for development and cannot be used for elite rugby. The funds are not even enough to do both the development and elite rugby,” he explained.

Despite the decrease in numbers of elite clubs, Lekan is optimistic that though the standard of competition will fall slightly, the impact will not be very bad. He said the remaining teams are strong enough to compete strongly and the BRU is expecting a very interesting league season.

Meanwhile, the BRU’s struggle to hunt for a sponsorship for the rugby league continues. According to Lekan, the BRU is looking at engaging a marketing company to try and help the local rugby union find a sponsor.

“We have already identified the company and negotiations are ongoing. We are hopeful that the company will help us resolve this issue,” Lekan said.

On other issues related to rugby, the BRU President said the union is still in the hunt for a High Performance Coach and a Development Manager. He said while the positions have attracted a lot of responses, the BRU is yet to decide who to take for both positions.

While a few names may already have been looked at for the position of Development Manager, the BRU president said no suitable candidate has been found for the position of High Performance Coach.

“We are actually in the process of head hunting for a suitable person to fill this position. Some of the rugby unions have hinted at seconding to us personnel from their unions to help us and we are looking at using these promises to acquire the right person for this post,” the local Rugby union President said.

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