Sables to spice up Mwana Group International Rugby Festival


LOCAL rugby fans are set to watch the Sables at home for the first time in three years as the national team will host Zambia on May 4 in Harare, in a trans-Zambezi derby that will put the icing on the cake for the Mwana Group International Rugby Festival.

The schools’ rugby festival, which returns for the first time since 2019, will be held at Prince Edward High School in Harare from April 28 to May 4.

Over 120 primary and secondary schools from across Zimbabwe, plus some teams from Southern Africa will participate at the festival that is expected to attract huge crowds.

Mwana Group chief executive officer Kuda Mutenda, who is also a former rugby player at Prince Edward High believes the festival will re-ignite interest in the sport.

“The Sables will play their first game in Zimbabwe for the first time in three years, so this festival is all about reminding people that rugby is back in Zimbabwe,” Mutenda said.

The Prince Edward School’s rugby festival is the oldest and biggest rugby festival in Zimbabwe, having started in 1986.

Over the years, it has been sponsored by various corporates including United Bottling Company, David Whitehead, Cottco and Dairibord.

Mwana Group has now taken over the sponsorship for the next five years.

“I believe in grassroots development, everything is about grassroots,” Mutenda.

“We need to get more people to play rugby, our aim is to rekindle interest in the sport.

“We are taking rugby back to the people.”

He added: “We are trying to make rugby a mass sport. That’s why we will have schools coming from different parts of the country.

“Government schools will take part, Mission schools are coming to play, girls are also playing and we also have schools from the rural areas.”

The Sables match against Zambia could draw a huge crowd given that this will be the first time they will be playing at home in three years.

“The national team game will also be an inspiration for the people who are playing during the festival, all the primary school kids will be inspired and say to themselves 'I want to become a Sables player'.

“Adults, young adults, school kids, old people, grandparents, they should all come and enjoy themselves.”

Mutenda revealed that there will be various training programmes for officials and technical staff.

“We will have training programmes for medics, referees, sports administrators," he said.

“Five courses free of charge for officials from each and every province.

“When these officials go back to their provinces after the festival, they will then impart those training programmes to the people out there.”

Thousands of spectators are expected to watch the weeklong festival, which is regarded as one of the biggest school rugby festivals in Africa.

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