Mwana Group revamps schools rugby festival

The Mwana Group International Rugby Festival organising team

THE new sponsors of the annual schools rugby festival Mwana Group have revamped it. The festival will be making a return to the calendar at its traditional home, Prince Edward School later this month.

Now known as the Mwana Group International Rugby Festival, the seven-day event will start on April 28 and end on May 4.

A total of 120 primary and high schools are expected to grace the event while there will also be the six teams from Zambia and Zimbabwe including age group sides as well as four tertiary Institutions — Midlands State University, Chinhoyi University of Technology, University of Zimbabwe and Bindura University of Science Education.

A senior team match between Zimbabwe and Zambia is the highlight of the festival which will be graced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Addressing journalists at a meeting held in Harare on Tuesday, Mwana Group managing director Kudakwashe Mutenda said the popular rugby event will be a massive festival which will come with a hive of other activities to attract huge attendance.

“This is quite big in terms of numbers; nothing gets bigger than this. In the seven days, three thousand plus athletes are going to participate. "We are expecting hundred thousand people to come as supporters,” he said.

“We start with the primary schools cup and then we have on Monday 29 April, the official opening ceremony. Hopefully our guest of honour will be Professor Amon Murwira from the Ministry of Education and then Tuesday, we have tier 1 games. Wednesday is family day on 1 May, our guest of honour will be Honourable Tino Machakaire from the Ministry of Youth.”

“On Thursday, we have tier 2 games with the Rugby dinner being held in Britain Hall here at Prince Edward School. On Friday, the 3rd of May, we have Honourable Kristy Coventry as our guest of honour.”

The final day of the event will see three national team games fixtures pitting Zimbabwe against Zambia, that is the ladies team, under 20 team and the senior men’s team.

“Some of you might not know this, but the senior men’s team last played a game more than three years ago and last played a game in Zimbabwe more than four years ago so this is the first time that I am introducing rugby to the men’s team as well," he said.

“We have what we call side sources, the whole idea of our festival is that we are trying to enlarge the number of  people coming to watch rugby

“We have car shows, play centres, family braai day, old boys’ day, anti-drugs campaign, headmaster’s lunch, Zim bikers show and we have live music.”

Sports, Arts and Recreation, deputy minister Emily Jesaya commended Mwana Group for their efforts to revive the prestigious annual event.

“As a ministry, we are here on board and we are going to support you. I want to thank Mwana Group for coming on board to plan this festival for us. It really means a lot, and it was a long wait. I need to commend and appreciate that you're also using the all-of-government approach, which is quite impressive,” she said.

The Rugby festival has had several sponsors since inception, including Dairibord, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe and Coca Cola among others.

Mwana Group is a diversified automotive company, heavily invested in youth empowerment programmes through various sports initiatives.

They are also the title sponsor of the president's schools rugby cup.

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