The Botswana National rugby team, the Vultures, will jet off for Yaound├®, Cameroon, this coming Friday to take part in the Africa Cup.
The vultures have been placed in Group C, where they will fight off the likes of hosts Cameroon, Zambia and Senegal in an attempt to get promotion to the elite group B.
Speaking in an interview, Botswana Rugby Union President, Bob Lekan, who will lead the team as the Botswana team Leader during the tournament, said the BRU decided it better that the team leaves for the tournament at least two days prior to kick off.
“We want the team to have a two-day rest and to acclimatise before kickoff and the two days will give the team time to have its own practice in the country long before our first game,” Lekan said, adding that considering the long route the team will have to take to reach Cameroon, they found it wise to leave earlier as the team would have been very exhausted before the first game.
“We will leave for South Africa where we will take a flight to Kenya where we will take a connecting flight to Cameroon,” Lekan said, adding that with the team going earlier than scheduled, the BRU will be footing its own bills for the two days they will be in Cameroon.
Meanwhile, the BRU president says the union is pulling all stops to ensure the team is well prepared for the tournament.
In an attempt to boost the team’s chances ahead of the tournament, Lekan says they engaged former South African U21 national team (Baby Boks) assistant coach Elliot Fana to help the team in its preparations. Fana, who is the current coach of the Fort Hare University rugby team jetted into the country last Friday for a three day training camp with the team.
According to Lekan, the former Baby Boks assistant coach worked with both the technical team and the players for the whole day on Saturday. He said that they have already reached an agreement with Fana to continue offering help with the national team in the future.
“This is a very positive move for the team, more especially as Fana is giving us his help free of charge. All we do is pay his travel and accommodation fees,” Lekan said in an interview.
Meanwhile, the BRU expects that the twenty-four man team that will head for Cameroon will be named this weekend.
The Vultures will be headed by Coach Ivor Greaves, assisted by Charl Van Zyl.
On other issues, the Botswana National Women rugby sevens team will start its training camps this coming week as it prepares for the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Southern Africa region, which will be hosted by Botswana in October.
According to BRU Development Officer, Zilwele Khumalo, the team will also be availed the help of an expert to help in the preparations, just as has been done with the senior men’s team. Khumalo says this, however, will be done in the latter stages of the preparations as the BRU seeks to ensure that the ladies have a full grasp of rugby basics before the experts are called in to help.
At least more than thirty players are expected to be called for the provisional national women team training camp.
The CAR Southern Africa tournament will involve Sevens’ teams from Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe as well as hosts Botswana.