Botswana Senior National 7s rugby team (men) endured a distasteful campaign at the just ended Rugby Sevens tourney which was held in Tunisia over the weekend. The Vultures as the team is affectionately known were hammered (49-0) by Kenya in their opening encounter and later on got a drubbing (24-0) from Morocco.
The final straw saw the team going on to lose against Namibia by a margin of 14-0 to cut their campaign short. However, the local lads managed to grab a mere consolation win (12-0) over Mauritius on the last day of the tournament.In an exclusive interview with BG Sport this week, The Vultures Head Coach Andrew Paxinos said their biggest challenge was to play against formidable sides (Kenya and Morocco) which are ranked above them, “We played against two teams that are ranked above us in rugby nations being Kenya which is in the World Circuit and also Morocco, one of the top rugby nations in Africa.
We ought to change our culture but our boys are not conditioned, we need to work on our fitness to be on par with the nations that we compete against,” he said.According to Paxinos, Botswana is limited by population in terms of a vast number of team selection in contrast to other countries, “We are competing with nations with millions of people in them, they have got massive amount of rugby happening in their countries respectively whereas in our we got only four teams in Gaborone to select from which limits us.
Nations such as Tunisia bring a lot of players who ply their trade in elite rugby leagues in countries like France hence making it difficult for us to overpower them,” said Paxinos.The Vultures gaffer further shared light on what other nations are doing as way of getting the results,
“If you are from Kenya for example, and the best in rugby in a certain foreign country, you can be chosen for the national team based on the number of years (3years) you stayed in that particular country thus making their sides stronger, but locally, it is rather a different story as we are expected to choose 100 percent Batswana citizens hence making it tough for us to compete against those international teams,” he shared.
On a lighter note, Paxinos said; “These things in world rugby are permissible, when you are legally residing in a country, it is allowed for you to play for that country provided that you have been staying in that particular country, a typical example is from Uganda who have three to four Kenyans players who have moved to Uganda and are now playing and the team is doing well.
However, we are not allowing it hence we need to go back and work hard and play more tournaments,” said the coach.Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean arsenal caused a major upset to the Kenyans to lift the Africans Seven’s tournament, the finale finished by 24-19 whereas the local boys (Vultures) came back home empty-handed.