17 teams reg­is­ter for MRFB Sevens tour­na­ment

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo Se­nior Sports Reporter

SEVEN­TEEN teams con­sist­ing of 13 men’s and four women’s sides have reg­is­tered for the Mata­bele­land Rugby Foot­ball Board (MRFB) Sevens tour­na­ment aimed at re-ig­nit­ing an in­ter­est in the game at Harts­field Ground to­mor­row.

Rugby, once a crowd puller in Bu­l­awayo, has vir­tu­ally col­lapsed in the city and the newly elected board be­lieves the Sevens for­mat can get the clubs run­ning.

The epic Old Mil­to­ni­ans and Western Pan­thers clash kick­starts the men’s event.

OMs, Pan­thers, War­riors, Lu­pane State Univer­sity, An­cient City, Po­lice Bull­dogs and Mid­lands State Univer­sity (MSU) Sha­banie Cam­pus are in Pool A, while Plat­inum War­riors, MSU, GZU, Bull­dogs, OMs and Gweru Sports Club form Pool B.

The women’s teams com­prise Ea­gles, Nyam­bosi, Bull­dogs and Great Zim­babwe Univer­sity.

Craig Change, the new MRFB sec­re­tary-gen­eral, who also dou­bles up as trea­surer, said they are also us­ing the Sevens tour­na­ment to at­tract part­ners.

“We are de­ter­mined to re­vive rugby in the south­ern re­gion be­cause we be­lieve that play­ers from this side have missed out on na­tional team op­por­tu­ni­ties be­cause of lack of game time.

“This se­ries of Sevens com­pe­ti­tions is only the be­gin­ning of our am­bi­tious drive to re-ig­nite rugby’s in­ter­est, not only in Bu­l­awayo, but the whole of the south­ern re­gion,” said Change.

“Our ma­jor chal­lenge is that we do not have spon­sors, but we be­lieve that through this initiative and other plans we have, we will be able to at­tract cor­po­rate part­ners.

“We want to make rugby a sport worth play­ing and a sport that can be a pro­fes­sion,” he said.

He said MRFB is also aim­ing at es­tab­lish­ing part­ner­ships with schools for de­vel­op­ment pur­poses, as well as col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties to in­crease their pres­ence. — @ZililoR.

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