Rwanda: Rugby Clubs Warry of Future of Sport Amid Pandemic

23 February 2021

Rugby clubs in the country are concerned that the sport will suffer a major decline if the coronavirus pandemic continues because the sport is not played professionally in the country.

Thousand Hills rugby club team manager Serge Shema told this publication that they are worried many players will not return to the game, since some have lost motivation and moved to more pressing needs.

"We are worried about the long term impact of the virus, besides rugby not being a professional sport in Rwanda where players earn a living from the sport, some of the players have moved on," he revealed.

He further added it has been difficult for the players to keep in shape when it is not clear when contact sport will be allowed to resume.

"A meeting is going to be organized soon with the National Rugby Federation (RRF): Serge revealed adding, "We hope discussions will be focused on player welfare and other challenges being faced," he explained.

Kigali Sharks rugby club coach Moise Habumugisha echoed the same concerns saying most of the rugby players lost their jobs during the pandemic and many went back to their villages.

An assessment carried out by some clubs reveals that none is ready to conduct a proper training session observing all the required health protocols.

Fred Gasore, who plays for Lion de Fer rugby club thinks that if the league returns it will be interesting to see how it will be managed. He is worried for clubs if they are asked to keep players in restricted and monitored locations for the games to start.

Gasore who foresees a lot of challenges adds, "With games at different locations and teams rosters of up 40-45 players, the idea of a camp would be a financial burden for the clubs which are also struggling.

"Since we don't have the opportunity to train as a team, because of guidelines to prevent the coronavirus pandemic on contacts sports, it's upon every one individually to get in shape. Clubs cannot facilitate everyone or pay for individual subscriptions in gyms," he said.

It is nearly a year since the Red Cross playing ground hosted the finals of the national rugby competitive game in which champions Kigali Sharks beat Resilience 27-17 to lift the title before all sporting activities in the country were suspended in March 2020 due to Covid-19.

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