Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe sports fraternity should brace for bigger things after Kwese Sports yesterday unveiled a new international sevens rugby tournament to be held in Victoria Falls in March and announced they are ready to spread their wings.
Kwese Sports Production Manager, Louwrens van Rensburg, said the broadcaster, who are also involved with Rugby Africa and Namibia Sevens, have decided to incorporate Zimbabwe Rugby in a five-year marriage.
The inaugural Kwese Sports Sevens will be held on the weekend of March 18-19 and will feature teams from eight countries.
Rensburg said rugby was their first port of call in Zimbabwe.
The sponsors decided to keep the monetary value of the sponsorship deal under wraps but the tournament is expected to attract regional and international sevens rugby teams.
“I think the biggest value for Zimbabwe Rugby and for Kwese is that it’s giving sevens rugby a platform in Zimbabwe.
“Secondly, the contribution to long-term sustainability and growth of the sport is probably the greatest value that we feel is important in our partnership.
“I think the big thing for us is to be involved in Pan-African sport in the broader part of Africa. Rugby is up there among the top three-four-five competitive team sports on the continent.
“We already had a partnership with Rugby Africa and from a regional point of view rugby has always had the potential and it’s quite a strong sport with a handful of others in Zimbabwe. So it could be one of the reasons why we did that.
“As for other sports codes in Zimbabwe, most definitely our door is open. We have had questions from other sport codes but I don’t want to take the spotlight off Zimbabwe Rugby right now. It’s their time and their place. We will chat again at the next press conference,” he said.
Apart from promoting pan-African sports, Rensburg also said the sponsorship was in line with their thrust to contribute to sports tourism in the country.
The tournament will be broadcast on the Kwese Sports channels.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Nyararai Sibanda said preparations are underway to host a flawless event for the inaugural tournament.
He said the venues should be ready and satisfying international standards by the time the games kick off.
“We have a local organising committee putting this together headed by Victor Rakabopa. They are busy on the ground doing the logistics and making sure that the playing surface and other logistics like marketing are in place.
“We will be having eight national teams participating and because we are still in the process of signing memoranda of understanding I’m not at liberty to disclose them.
“As we launch this tournament we look forward to a growth and ensure that we have it on the Rugby Afrique calendar and on the world rugby calendar as a feature and it is with your support that we promote the pan-Africanism that we want to realise through Kwese Sports,” said Sibanda.