Seven countries have confirmed their participation in the Confederation of African Rugby (Car) Under-19 African Championships to be held in Zimbabwe for the second year running next month.
The continental tournament, which will act as the qualifiers for the 2013 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Chile, will take place at Prince Edward School from August 23 to September 1.
Countries which have confirmed participation are Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana and hosts Zimbabwe, will battle for the sole ticket to represent the continent at the second-tier junior championship.
Rugby powerhouses South Africa, who had initially been named as the hosts, do not take part in the tourney as they play in the first-tier Junior World Rugby Championships.
Zimbabwe Under-20 Committee chairman Aaron Jani, who will lead the local organising committee, said he was confident the tournament would be a success.
“Eight countries, including Zimbabwe, have confirmed their participation in the Under-19 African Championships, which are the equivalent of the Car Africa Cup at senior level. Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Botswana have already written to us confirming their participation.
“As the hosts, we are obviously delighted that both the Car and the IRB have shown confidence in us by awarding us the right to host the tournament for the second successive year,’’ said Jani.
The Young Sables, who have won the last three editions of the tournament, will be out to defend their crown. Namibia, who Zimbabwe beat in the final last year, will pose the most difficult challenge for the Goodwin Murambiwa-coached side.
Preparations for the tournament are already underway, as most players who are eligible for the tournament, played at the recent Coca-Cola Craven Week in South Africa.