9 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Rugby AGM Set for Tomorrow

THE Zimbabwe Rugby Union annual meeting is set to take place tomorrow at the Prince Edward School pavilion with financial and development issues expected to top the discussions. For the first time since the formation of the local rugby union 118 years ago, there will not be any election of office bearers following the implementation of a new constitution last year that stipulates for a four-year term.

The Sables recently turned down an invitation from the Namibia Rugby Union due to lack of funds as the Brandon Dawson-coached side is yet to receive their match fees from last year.

However, the issue could be addressed at the annual meeting that is scheduled for tomorrow when ZRU boss John Falkenberg is expected to table the way forward and the Union's plans for 2013.

But game development could get more attention this year following revelations by Falkenberg last year that the national rugby academy will be running by 2014.

If the academy comes to life, then it is going to be the biggest project that the ZRU has ever implemented as it will have centres in Bulawayo, Harare and Kwekwe and will be headed by Australian rugby legend David Campese as the academy director.

"The whole point of us having such kind of a project is to try and minimise the amount of talent we lose to other countries because here we will also be working with tertiary schools and universities in the country so that the players in the academies also get academic qualifications," Falkenberg said.

The importance of 2013 to the Sables is that they have to at least remain in the Africa Cup Pool 1A which is also the World Cup qualifying group if they are to entertain any hopes of making it for the 2015 England World Cup.

The four teams that remain in this group at the end of the year will battle it out for the sole automatic ticket for the World Cup next year while the second-placed side will take a longer route, featuring in the play-offs.

But it seems the annual meeting will take place before Harare Province have theirs because they have been faced with financial difficulties as they cannot afford to pay for a meeting venue.

"I have been trying to arrange for an annual general meeting but it is proving tough but it looks like we will be having one soon and I am working flat out on that.

"Initially we had slated the meeting for January 26 (two weeks ago) but we could not get a proper venue but we have since rescheduled and are still working on the legalities," said Harare province acting chairman Socrets Chigumbura.

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