ZIMBABWE Rugby Union (ZRU) is among the 11 of the 39 rugby unions affiliated to Rugby Africa set to benefit from a grant of EUR 276,490 for the successful and safe preparations for the restart of its 2021 rugby season.
The funding which comes after a challenging 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic will see Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Zambia, Madagascar, Côte D’ivoire, Senegal, Ghana eligible for the funds.
A targeted approach has been taken to ensure funds are applied where they will have the greatest, immediate impact and highlights the attractiveness of Rugby Africa competitions.
Khaled Babbou president of Rugby Africa said “This is an exciting day for rugby on the Continent. It clearly illustrates Rugby Africa’s support for its Unions. We have been through extraordinary challenges this year and it is essential that we do everything possible to keep this much – loved sport alive and striving in Africa.”
This fund is different to the emergency solidarity fund that saw Rugby Africa paying EUR117k to 31 Unions for immediate food and medical relief. It assisted the most vulnerable communities with food parcels, with the other funds meant for the supplying of clubs with masks, sanitisers and medical supplies.
The latest funding is expected to be a boost for the Aaron Jani-led ZRU board after they were recently conditional approval by the government to resume training and resume rugby activities.
Rugby, which is the third most popular sport in the country after football and cricket, has been on hold since March following the coronavirus outbreak.
However the inactivity could soon be a thing of the past following confirmation that ZRU’s application to resume training and competitive rugby activities has been approved by the government.
ZRU is bracing for a busy season next year with the Sables aiming to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France while the Cheetahs still have a chance of qualifying for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.