A new era is set to dawn on local rugby today with Themba Sibanda expected to be replaced by his vice-president John Falkenberg as the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) boss today.
The association’s new executive will be elected at an AGM at Old Georgians Sports Club.
Sibanda, who has been at the helm for the past three years, is not standing for re-election.
Former Old Georgians Sports Club rugby chairman Falkenberg has emerged as favourite to land the presidency of the union and is likely to be unchallenged.
The AGM will also double as an extra-ordinary meeting for the adoption of the new constitution which will also see the term of office increased from one to four years.
Falkenberg is believed to have the support of the Northern and Southern regions, Women’s Rugby, the Zimbabwe Rugby Referees Society and Zimbabwe Schools Rugby.
Four positions, that of the president, vice-president (north), vice-president (south) and treasurer have become vacant following the expiry of the one-year terms.
Zimbabwe Under-19s chairperson Aaron Jani is being tipped to take over from Falkenberg for the post of vice-president (Northern Region) while Matabeleland is said to be supporting former vice-president Alex Goosen to challenge the incumbent Brett Halloway, who took over from Sean Robertson.
ZRU general manager Grant Mitchell said they were going to first sit for the adoption of the new constitution that would have the new executive in office for a maximum of two four-year terms.
“The issue of the constitution is going to be on the agenda where a proposal has been made to allow office bearers to be in office for four years, rather than the current three one-year terms. This will give the new board ample time to have completed their targets,” he said.
However, it is the president’s position generating interest as Sibanda has come to the end of his three one-year terms in office. Under Sibanda Zimbabwean rugby made significant strides towards regaining its past glory.
Last year, the Sables achieved a remarkable unbeaten run to reclaim their place among the elite group in African rugby, on their way to achieving their highest-ever ranking of 33 in the world.
Delta Beverages, through their Lion lager brand, made a welcome return to the sport as the Sables sponsors and the title sponsors of the National Rugby League.
The national Sevens rugby team, the Cheetahs, were invited to two more legs on the IRB World Sevens series in London and Scotland having shown signs of improvement over the years.
The national Under-19 team also maintained their domination on the continent by capturing their third successive title and in the process booking Africa’s sole ticket to the 2012 Junior World Rugby Trophy.
The new board will have the task of ensuring the senior national rugby team qualifies for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The Sables last participated in the William Ellis Webb Trophy in 1992.