THE Rugby World Cup-bound Zimbabwe Sevens team has partnered Innscor through their Bakers Inn brand in an initiative aimed at promoting the sport in local junior schools over the next six months.
REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO SPORTS REPORTER
The programme, which is expected to get underway on Wednesday, will see the Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby franchise working with Bakers Inn to introduce the game to Grade 6 and 7 pupils at various schools around the country.
Affectionately known as the Cheetahs, the Zimbabwe Sevens side, which is sponsored by local retail giants Spar, was recently voted the National Team of the Year after qualifying for the Sevens Rugby World Cup set for Russia in June.
“Zimbabwe 7s Rugby have identified the development of rugby talent in Zimbabwe as a priority in 2013. The six-month programme is tailored around the team’s journey to the Rugby World Cup in Moscow at the end of June this year, with the view of leaving a ‘legacy’ for years to come,” said David Crouch, the sponsorship manager at Dominus Sport, a local sports events management company working with the Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby franchise.
“With rugby 7s growing in popularity all round the world as well as the sport’s inclusion in the Olympics, there is a keen focus on growing the popularity of the sport in Zimbabwe.
“With Bakers Inn and Zimbabwe 7s Rugby sharing a common interest, the programme seeks to have a very positive impression on the children participating in the programme. Over the course of the programme, Bakers Inn and Zimbabwe 7s Rugby will reach more than 900 children. During the six months, the Zimbabwe 7s team will coach children, donate playing equipment to schools and identify talent for the future.
“The talent that is identified will then be further nurtured with more intensive coaching sessions at training camps at the end of each month.
“With the strong support of Bakers Inn, Zimbabwe 7s Rugby will look to produce the next generation of rugby talent, with children who may not have had such opportunities,” said Crouch.
Bakers Inn has a strong record of supporting sporting programmes at a junior level within the country and has also in the past sponsored Castle Premiership football giants Highlanders.
Bakers Inn has successfully supported junior development initiatives for soccer and netball through the Bakers Inn Superior League programme in 2010.
They are currently funding the Cricket Schools of Excellence programme being run by Zimbabwe Cricket with Chipembere Primary School in Highfield.