Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
THE inaugural Tsimba Rugby Festival which was scheduled to take place at the Glamis Arena in Harare this month has been postponed to next year. The invitational tournament, which has attracted youth teams from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, is the brainchild of Zimbabwe rugby international Kennedy Tsimba, who is currently the head coach of St Albans College.
Organisers, the Tsimba Rugby Trust, yesterday said in a statement that they were worried by the violent events which erupted in Harare in the wake of the national elections.
The tournament was supposed to take place from August 13-17.
“We, the Tsimba Rugby Trust, regret to inform you that due to conditions beyond our control, the Tsimba Rugby Festival will be postponed until next year.
“Due to the current unrest in the country, we do not want to risk the safety of our participants. We cannot guarantee that the situation would have diffused in a weeks’ time and therefore cannot take the risk. In addition three teams have already withdrawn themselves for safety reasons.
“Thus the TRF would just not be viable at the present moment. We are extremely regretful about this reality we are facing and therefore we wish to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” said the statement.
The Tsimba Under-18 international festival is an invitational tournament in honour of the late Richard Tsimba’s legacy.
The late “Black Diamond” was the first and only black player to participate in the inaugural Rugby World Cup staged in New Zealand in 1987.
Richard scored one of the tournament’s best tries in Zimbabwe’s 20-21 loss to Romania. He was later posthumously inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.
The upcoming youth festival was initiated by his younger brother Kennedy, also an iconic rugby player who represented the Free State Cheetahs in the Vodacom Currie Cup and Super Rugby Championships.
The participating teams in the tournament include Zimbabwe Under-18, Namibia Under-18, Kenya Under-18, Botswana Under-18, Zambia Under-18, Zimbabwe development XV, USA Schools select XV, South Africa Under-18 XV, and the SA-Zim XV which is made up of Zimbabwe-born players living in South Africa.