Jwaneng — Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) vice president-technical, Tosca Segaise, says the objective of Re Ba Bona Ha rugby skills festival is to showcase skills learnt at respective centres as well promote benchmarking.
He said this during rugby festival that attracted over 200 children between the ages of six and 14 in Jwaneng over the weekend. Participants were from Selebi Phikwe, Maun and Jwaneng centres.
He said they were also creating an interaction platform for the children.
"Prior to the main festival, mini festivals are held at various centres and coaches use them as a yardstick to select those who will attend the main festival.
This interaction is important because not only does it grow rugby skills but such travelling also broadens the horizon of these children," he explained.
Furthermore, he noted that even though their main focus was to develop rugby skills, they also taught athletes other values in an attempt to raise a well-rounded individual. He said they used rugby to shape the children so that they could be exemplary to their peers at their respective schools.
Segaise commended the coaches, parents and schools for support towards the programme.
For his part, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) acting director of sports development, Mission Mereyotlhe, underscored the need for sports development from grassroots level.
"As the BNSC we have therefore partnered with Debswana for RE Ba Bona Ha programme as a way of promoting early sports development. We have seen growth across various sporting codes since inception of the development programme in terms of number of participants and skills growth," he noted.
Mereyotlhe said the skill level had grown over the years and they had seen children graduating to youth teams and ultimately the senior teams. "Due to financial constraints we cannot afford to have more than one national festival annually."
He said regular interaction would go a long way in enhancing skills among participants.Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA) vice president-technical, Selebatso Keabetswe, applauded BRU for taking the first step to forge a partnership with BOPSSA.
He said collaboration between the two organisations, once formalised, would go a long in developing sport especially among primary school going children. "BRU has the capacity to carry their mandate in the entire country and they need our support as BOPSSA.
We therefore intend to strengthen this partnership to collaborate further in the long run," he noted.
Giving a word of motivation to participants, Osi Kopano of Heroes Mentorship Programme emphasised the importance of upholding the five principles of rugby being discipline, respect, integrity, solidarity and passion.
He noted that the most important one was discipline as it helped them to stay focused and also work as a team.
Kopano told them to appreciate the opportunity to learn Rugby from an early age as it had not been the case with other generations.
He also urged them to use the opportunity to explore since there were other various roles availed to them such as coaching, administrating and refereeing.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>