Zim to host first ever all-female refereed African tourney
ZIMBABWE will be the first nation on the continent to host an all-female officiated Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Championship tournament which will be held at the Police grounds in Harare this weekend.
The Lady Cheetahs will play host to seven other countries namely South Africa, Senegal, Namibia, Zambia, Madagascar, Tunisia and Uganda.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) director of rugby Bright Chivandire said the move is meant to endorse female officials in the game.
“I can confirm that the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens tournament will be an all-female officiated competition. This was a deliberate decision by Rugby Africa to try and promote female officials in the game. As a union, we are so proud to be the first country to host an all-female officiated women’s sevens championship.
“We are also proud that as a country we have Precious Pazani who will be officiating as a centre referee during the tournament. The hosting of the tournament is a huge development in Zimbabwe because it symbolises the evolution and physique of the women’s game. It also gives us an opportunity to expose quality ladies’ rugby,” said Chivandire.
Zimbabwe has been drawn in Pool A together with South Africa, Senegal and Namibia while Madagascar, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia are in Pool B.
Cheetahs’ manager Susan Kamukai said the preparations are going well as everybody in camp was focused and excited.
“Of course the girls are a little nervous because the competition will be tough and the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd will be too much. We are just going to be at our best and make it a point that even when the tournament is over, the nation will be cheering for us.
“We have realised that our performance in rugby has not been good especially in the men’s category who keep dropping in the rankings. As the Lady Cheetahs, we will try to maintain our rankings if not improve,” said Kamukai.
Coach Abigail Kawonza said they have Under-18s as part of the team as they seek to develop a squad that will compete for the 2020 qualifiers. She also added that development in schools has done wonders in boosting the national teams.
“There’s a lot of excitement that comes with hosting a tournament, playing in front of your peers, showcasing development in Zimbabwe, your game and talent, but we cannot lose focus on our goals as a team and as a nation.
“We have our eyes on developing a squad that will compete for the 2020 qualifiers. To make sure we can still compete at this tournament and maintain or go up on the African rankings while at the same time developing a squad for the future, we have players from the Under-18 squad while maintaining a small core of the experienced guys like Charity Mucucuti,” Kawonza said.