THE development of grassroots rugby, especially in rural schools is an imperative issue that the Zimbabwe Rugby Union should divert more funds towards, says Zimpapers Group Marketing Officer, Tapiwa Mandimutsira. Mandimutsira was the guest of honour at the recently held inaugural Manicaland Rugby Awards at Mutare Sports Club.
Mandimutsira, who hails from Manicaland, said he was touched by the story of the Sahumani girls, and urged ZRU to strongly invest more towards grassroots rugby where talented gems could be discovered and later become international rugby icons.
“I am inspired. When I came here I saw the girls from Sahumani. The girls are an inspiration and I was moved by their passion for the sport. I used to play rugby and I am proud that as a province we are now propping up girls’ rugby. I brought my father today and we have said let us support these Sahumani girls, especially the girls who were selected for the Zim team (Zimbabwe Under-18 side),” said Mandimutsira.
He added that there was need to push the agenda of sports development as a province. He urged the media to play an instrumental role to give exposure to local teams and also give prominence to rugby. He said there is too much focus on soccer, while a lot of inspirational sports stories like that of the Sahumani girls were not being given the necessary coverage.
Mandimutsira donated $100 to the Sahumani girls’ team. His donation stirred the spirit of giving as his brother, Pension Mandimutsira, a local businessman and former Mutare Sports Club rugby player added $20. He also donated $20 to Mutare Sports Club captain, Gideon Muyambo whom he said was a disciplined and dedicated player.
Scales manufacturing company, Every Instrument proprietor, Edwin Mapfumo who is also the immediate-past MSC chairman pledged a $1 000 financial backing to buy rugby boots for girl’s rugby teams such as Sahumani under the Manicaland grassroots developmental rugby programme. Mapfumo said he was impressed to see the girls play quality rugby but noticed that they did not have rugby boots and heard that most come from underprivileged backgrounds. The awards which were organised by the Manicaland Rugby Board are expected to be held annually.
MRB chairman, Josiah Borerwe, said the awards came as a result of the historic triumphant year for the province in achieving a lot to grow the sport in both schools and club rugby.