By Lance Chihande
RUGBY Africa’s Unstoppable, Abigail Kawonza, says she believes the women game’s future could be bright in this country.
She has been one of the pillars of women’s rugby, in Zimbabwe, and feels there is reason for a wave of optimism.
“Having been involved in rugby, for over two decades, that’s longer than some of our national players have been alive, I have seen a lot of ups, and downs, in the development of the game in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“I have had to deal with the stigma, of being associated with a sport, that was largely considered for men. “We have seen a change, from just articles to women’s rugby being accepted in Olympics, and Commonwealth Games.
“The major improvements, we have seen worldwide, would be the increase in funding, covering development of the game, in both sevens and the fifteens format, younger and strong players are emerging.”
But, as a player that has led her country on the park, and coached the national team for some years, Kawonza has turned her attention to other pillars, in the sport.
“The change was very hard, having been involved for so long, having watched players (and myself) evolve over a decade of coaching, and then walking away, was difficult,” she said.
“There was a time I even went into depression. “But, it was a fulfilling experience to retire and still have the opportunity to continue to contribute positively to the sport that I have loved all my life.
“I appreciate that my influence has gone beyond the Zimbabwean boarders, as I also work closely with regional and international union boards.”