120 schools for inaugural Mwana Group rugby festival

01 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views

Suburban

ABOUT 120 primary and high school institutions converge at Harare’s Price Edward High School for the week long Mwana Group International Rugby Festival at the end of April.

Fungai Muderere Sports Reporter

The rugby meet will feature top teams from Zimbabwe, international teams, primary schools in a tournament for both boys and girls.

“The tournament will see about 120 schools participating between April 28 and   May 4 at Prince Edward School, Harare. These schools will include both primary schools and high schools. The participants will range from Under-13, 16 and 19 girls and boy’s teams.

“Currently, we have five confirmed teams from Malawi, Zambia, and Botswana. These teams have both female and male teams as well as U16 and U19 teams,” said Sikhumbuzo Muchenje who is part of the festival’s secretariat.

She said the Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival comes in as an effort to resuscitate the traditional schools’ rugby tournaments that have traditionally been held since 1986.

“The festival has gone through various evolutions with the name of the festival being changed to fit the various headline sponsors over the years. These names include the United Bottle Company Festival which was from 1986-1987, David Whitehead Rugby Festival between 1988 to 1997, Cottco Rugby Festival between 1998 to 2013 and The Dairibord Rugby Festival between 2014 to 2019.

“The tournament was halted by the Covid pandemic between 2020 and 2022 and faced some organisational challenges for the 2023 edition.

Mwana Group therefore steps in for the 2024 to 2028 editions. This will be the first edition of the Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival, and we look forward to a successful tournament,” she said.

Muchenje also mentioned that the contest will kick off with a primary schools tournament on April 28.

“This tournament will be a knockout tournament and will have a trophy prize and medals for the winning team. For the Under 16 and Under 19 teams the tournament will be in a fixture format thus there won’t be an ultimate trophy to be won,” she said.

Asked on what is the idea of having the tournament, Muchenje said it is all in an effort to brick back schools rugby and in the process engross the youths on issues to do with substance abuse and teenage pregnancies.

“The festival comes at a time where there are several issues that are affecting the youth between the ages of 13 to 20 years. The festival therefore seeks to provide a space where the youth can be empowered to be able to handle the pressures of the world.

“The festival will offer an opportunity for them to be educated about drug and substance abuse and how they can identify and seek help when they are faced with such problems. The festival further seeks to provide the young athletes an opportunity to showcase their talent and be scouted for their various age group teams.

“The festival will further provide a healthy, fun, and clean environment for families. There will be play centres, car shows and music performances for entertainment purposes to ensure that spectators are able to enjoy,” said Muchenje.

With regards to their partners, she said they were still getting more to come on board.

“So the list is not conclusive and is subject to further additions. However, we would like to thank Zimbabwe Rugby Union, DFT Auto Parts, Drug Free Zimbabwe, Firstlink and TK-Foods for coming on board for this festival,” Muchenje said.

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