Newly elected Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president John Falkenberg has called on all rugby stakeholders to put their hands on the deck to ensure a positive development of the game.
Falkenberg, who replaced Themba Sibanda, was elected unopposed over the weekend in a development that also saw the coming in of Aisha Tsimba (North) and Nyararai Sibanda (South) as co-vice-presidents.
The board members include Sifiso Made (Harare), Tapiwa Mangezi (Matabeleland), Richard Chiwandire (Manicaland) and new women’s representative Tafadzwa Chigumira, who replaced Tsimba.
Reg Querl retained his seat for schools while Drew Robert will represent the Zimbabwe Rugby Referees’ Society.
Falkenberg, who was in the company of Northern region vice-president Aisha Tsimba, interim chairman Bongani Zamchiya and general manager Grant Mitchell, said it is not his job alone to improve the fortunes of the sport, but a collective effort of everyone involved in the sport.
He said his first priority would be to bring the financially troubled union on a sound footing by attracting sponsorship.
“We have a number of programmes lined up that would see our rugby moving towards a positive direction. Obviously the first step is to bring the union back on a sound financial position.
“We are currently holding discussions with a number of sponsors whom, unfortunately, I am not at liberty to divulge. Once the ZRU board meets, we will reveal everything,” he said.
On the country’s flagship team, the Sables, Falkenberg said they were currently waiting for the committee responsible for the team to come up with recommendations for the team’s technical committee following the expiry of the one headed by Brendan Dawson.
“The responsible committee is in the process of coming up with the technical committee and I am sure that by next week, everything will be in place,” he said.
Tsimba added it was not only the Sables’ technical committee that would be looked into, but all the national team brands that include the Under-19, the Sevens as well as women’s teams.
“It is not only the Sables brand technical team that will be reviewed, but all the country’s four national brands,” she said.
Mitchell also said they were looking at the possibility of bringing in a kit sponsor, who would take over the sponsorship of all brands.
“We are looking at a number of possibilities and I am sure everything will be in place soon,” he said.
The new executive comes at a time when the union’s books are in the red with creditors owed $94 549 — the biggest creditor Timber Connections are owed $47 600.