Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
LACK of international standard infrastructure has cost Zimbabwe from an opportunity to host the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 (RAC2022).
The competition serves as the last qualifying round for the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be held in France.
Zimbabwe, Kenya and Namibia had applied to host the event, but none got the nod as the qualifying tournament will be held in France.
Social media users were quick to question the decision to stage the qualifier in France, but Rugby Afrique said the well-being, health and safety of players and staff remained its key priority, and argued that France would host a tournament of the highest international standards in all spheres, encompassing infrastructure and Covid-19 protocols and regulations.
“With a long tradition of hosting Rugby Africa tournaments and activities, France and Rugby Afrique are already in a close collaboration process which will provide the eight competing teams with an exceptional tournament and ideal hosting conditions to concentrate on a single goal, win the final match and qualify directly for Rugby World Cup 2023 which will also take place in France,” said rugby Afrique.
The RAC2022 will kick off in July in a knockout format which will see eight teams competing.
The winner of the event automatically qualifies for 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Runners-up of the tournament will join the Repechage tournament, which offers one final attempt to qualify for the World Cup.
The opening round will see Namibia, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe take on Burkina Faso, Algeria, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire respectively.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be held between September 8 and October 28 of that year. – @innocentskizoe