Zimbabwe: ZRU Await SRC Nod to Resume

30 October 2020

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union have submitted a draft plan on how they intend to resume the game, together with proposed venues, to the Sports Commission.

The ZRU were cleared to start the game by authorities two weeks ago.

However, they were asked to prepare a dossier on how they could go about the game, without compromising the health of everyone involved, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Once the document is given the greenlight by the authorities, rugby teams will be allowed to commence group training. The game has been on hold since March and the mother body issued a statement, cancelling all scheduled events including the league, due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

ZRU chief executive, Sifiso Made, said they were awaiting for feedback from the Government to start group training and, eventually, get the games underway.

"As the Zimbabwe Rugby Union, we were given the greenlight to start playing the game but under strict health guidelines," said Made.

"We were asked to furnish the authorities with a clear framework on how we intend to go about with the game. We have since drawn up our plan paper, which we have submitted to the Sports and Recreation Commission, for scrutiny.

"While we are waiting for a response from the Sports Commission, we have continued engaging our stakeholders, getting their input on the best ways we can improve the game going forward."

He said they have been looking at a number of possibilities.

"As the executive, we have also continued conducting virtual meetings and seminars, with a view to continue improving the game.

"In the paper which we submitted to the Sports Commission, we listed four venues which we intend to use for the return of the game.

"We have selected one venue from Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Gweru. Those facilities will have to be inspected and disinfected, before we can be allowed to use them.

"There are various issues we have considered, through the help of our medical committee, and we are well on course."

Made said the ZRU were working cosely with the World Anti-Doping Agency, who are conducting awareness campaigns virtually, on the dangers of taking prohibited substances.

"Remember, our players have been training individually at home all along and this is going to be the first time they are involved in the game in more than seven months.

"So, what we have done is engage the World Anti-Doping Agency which will test all of them.

"All those tested will be given certificates. We are a professional union and we need to do things properly."

The ZRU are still to determine the form the game will take.

"The easiest way of commencing the game is, obviously, the adoption of small numbers.

"That is to say we should play the Sevens tournaments but, look, that is a technical decision.

"It is something which the technical people, together with the executive, will work out collectively.

"We have to consider a lot of factors before settling to adopt a certain format for the return of the game. We are all quiet aware of the tournaments, and competitions, coming next year and this could be the opportunity for us to start preparing for that now.

The Under-20s, the Sables and the Cheetahs will all have international tournaments next year, which they need to start preparing for now."

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