Local rugby fanatics will be thrilled with the return of the Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) league despite continuous struggle to find sponsors. The weekly rugby action is anticipated to kick-start on the 9th of March. This was confirmed by Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) Secretary General, Ernest Mantsi in a brief interview with Sun Sports this week.
Mantsi revealed that they have not been able to find sponsors for the league as yet but it will start at the said dates, nonetheless. “At this moment the league is being fully funded by BRU as we have not yet secured sponsors and hopefully we will prevail soon,” he said. Quizzed about the state of rugby in the country, Mantsi said they are still in the building stage, “Our rugby is growing at a slow rate because at the moment we have no player plying his or her trade abroad and our national teams have not been doing well but I have confidence that we will improve with time,” said Mantsi.
On the other hand, the past season triumphant University of Botswana (UB) Rhinos Rugby Club (RC) ladies’ Fitness mentor Koketso Ntshebe said they have long started their preparations for the league, “Our pre-season so far have been impressive, we had eight weeks of conditioning and we are now left with close to three weeks which will be coupled with some key friendly matches,” he said. Ntshebe further reiterated that they aim to put out a better showing than last season, “We need to improve as a squad and we have some new acquisitions who we are still teaching our style of play.
We have a trip to South Africa, Pretoria to participate in the Tuks Sevens tournament which will add to our preparations for this season,” Ntshebe reiterated. Nevertheless, Botswana Rugby league (ladies section) comprises Gaborone Hogs RC, Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Cheetahs RC, Savage RC, Jaguars RC, Jwaneng RC, and Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) north and UB Rhinos RC who will be battling for honours this season.
The Vultures senior national rugby team are back home after an uninspired performance during their recent Rugby Silver Cup campaign in Zambia last week. Having lost to the hosts, Zambia and Madagascar, in the six nations tournament, the Vultures will now play a waiting game to see whether they remain in the Silver Cup or would be relegated to the Bronze lower ranks.
“We are waiting for log standings to see whether we remain in the Silver Cup and this will depend on the aggregation,” said the Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) Secretary General Ernest Mantsi in an interview this week. Mantsi said the team that wins first place in the Silver Cup is promoted to the elite Gold Cup while the team that acquires 6th position will be relegated to the Bronze cup. Moreover, Mantsi said the winners of the Bronze cup will be elevated to the Silver cup.
“We are waiting for the results to see who will be relegated to the Bronze cup and this may take up to one week after the competition is concluded.” Mantsi said it will be up to the Africa Rugby officials to determine who goes or remains in the Silver cup. Mantsi said there are other factors that can determine this such as Africa Rugby officials investigating whether there were any defaulters during the six-nation tournament. Meanwhile, Mantsi said the Vultures who competed in Zambia are a fairly new team in terms of both the players and the technical department.
“They would have loved to have done better at the Silver cup but going further the Botswana Rugby Union will be setting new targets for them.” Furthermore, Mantsi said it is important for the BRU to start preparing for next year’s Silver Cup. With the 2018 Silver cup behind them, Mantsi said they will now focus on the Seven’s national men’s team who are expected to compete at an Africa tournament this October. In other matters, Mantsi said they continue to struggle with attracting sponsorship especially for the national team which is expensive to maintain.
Fierce battles are expected to ensue this coming weekend at SSKB stadium during the Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) league championships.
The team to beat and super league defending champions BDF Cheetahs will take on Gaborone Hogs while Jwaneng will face BUAN on the reserve league. The formidable BAC N are expected to face the unpredictable UB Rhinos in the women’s league. Meanwhile BU Ryders are scheduled to battle it out with newbies Hogs in the president league.
According to BRU Secretary General Ernest Mantsi, the league finals will carry an electrifying game of rugby. Mantsi said they expect nothing but fireworks this weekend.
“Looking at the fixtures, it is hard to predict as to which team will go back home with a win. All the teams are capable of bringing it down over the weekend,” Mantsi said.
According to Mantsi, all teams have of recent proved to be highly competitive and singled out the Jwaneng based team saying their performance during the semi- finals was a thrill. He said the team is very much capable of causing upsets against the highly committed BUAN side.
On the women side, he said BAC N and UB are sworn rivals. “BUAN has shown a lot of resilience but we cannot expect anything less from the UB team.”
“We are eyeing to retain the championship title,” Coach Emmanuel Masinki of UB Rhinos had said in an earlier interview with BG Sport. The team also won the Knockout Cup championship title this season.
He had assured and sworn that he is on a mission to humble BAC N if given a chance and the weekend encounter will surely give him his heart desires.
Furthermore, BRU will for the very first time in history this coming weekend award monetary prizes to the winning teams .The said monetary figure stands above P30 000 and will be divided between the four leagues.
President of BRU Dave Gilbert had told this publication in an interview that BRU is on the verge of securing sponsorships deals. “We will be having sponsors next year, that much I can assure you,” he said.
Gilbert said with the sponsorships they will be able to keep their athletes motivated and possibly reach some of their set mandates of developing rugby locally.
However he expressed concern with low turnouts of supporters at the games, saying the numbers are disappointing than normal. Nevertheless he remained hopeful that they will pull through noting that Rugby is still not very familiar to many Batswana.
Delegates and representatives of different Rugby Unions around Africa will converge at Kasane on the 3rd of December 2016 for the Rugby Africa (RA) General Assembly.
Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) President Dave Gilbert officially announced this at a brief press conference in Gaborone on Wednesday. The workshop will run for a week. Gilbert said an estimate of 37 countries and 100 delegates among them presidents of Rugby Unions are expected to grace the event.
The Assembly would be preceded by a weeklong series of activities and workshops such as budgets, tournaments and strategic planning for the next five years. BRU is honoured to host the Assembly for the first time and the president emphasised that the union will also be bringing in foreign exchange for the country.
“We are talking about close to USD 150 000 coming directly into the country, this will truly be a great investment,” Gilbert revealed. BRU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sport Volunteer Movement (SVM).
The services of the movement will come in handy during the long run of the week and also in smooth running of the General Assembly. Chairperson of the movement Keolebogile Maplanka said they are privileged to be amongst the team that will help promote sport development in the country.
She noted that the movement was critical to every Motswana who is willing to give back to the community and urged all to step forward and assist in every way possible.The SVM Sub Structure in Kasane Region is tasked with ensuring that they host a successful high profile event.
“Sports events are usually in Gaborone and surrounding areas, I believe people in Kasane are thirsty for it, we need to leave a legacy there,” Maplanka said. She added that in future they will look further into embracing all tribes by trying to find volunteers who can learn or communicate in different languages. “I believe it will help us when we host events of this nature, we will just be tapping in our databases at ease.”