THE Zimbabwe Under-19 rugby team’s preparations for the IRB Youth World Cup could be dealt a big blow after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) pledged a
paltry sponsorship package for the team.
Just $50 million will be availed to the history making team from the country’s supreme sports body from whom a lot was expected. High hopes had been pinned on the SRC to bail out the cash-strapped Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) to cover expenses for the World Cup, set for Durban, South Africa, at the end of the month.
SRC director-general Elias Musengeya told IndependentSport yesterday that his association could only give the Under-19 team enough money for preparations before departure for South Africa.
“Our role as a development agency must not be seen as that of sponsoring any discipline. ZRU must be able to look for sponsorship from elsewhere. On our side, we think that the $50 million we are giving the team is enough to enable them to prepare adequately”, said Musengeya.
ZRU chief executive officer Titus Zvomuya said last week that the union was still finalising a sponsorship package for the youth side. The SRC has in recent months come to the financial rescue of other national associations, including a $1, 4 billion debt settlement for the Zimbabwe Football Association last year.
Meanwhile, ZRU yesterday named the Zimbabwe’s squad for the World Cup. The team is still training in two groups in Harare and Bulawayo. Half of the squad has left school, with the former Churchill pair of three-quarter liners Tangai Nemadire and Shingi Mpofu already playing domestic club rugby.
Six of the team’s key players are now based outside the country after securing scholarships to South African universities. Captain Michael Passaportis went to Western Province University, while four players, Ben Nichols, Bongani Moyo-Majabwu, Terrence Odendaal and Xolani Dube, are at Pretoria University. Wing Alex Ndangana is set join Free State University while forward Richard Wilde is in Australia.
World Cup squad:
Michael Passaportis (captain), Roland Benade, Ben Nichols, Tangai Nemadire, Richard Kennaird, Bongani Moyo-Majabwu, Jason Maritz, Nqobile Mpala, Alex Ndangana, Shingi Mpofu, Ebenezer Simba, Munyaradzi Taruvinga, Tinashe Moyo, Xolani Dube, George Heyns, Richard Ferreira, Brendan Brider, Ayanda Khumalo, Richard Wilde, Terrence Odendaal, Andries Steenkamp, Gavin Zieglar, Thomas Milburn, Richard Jumbe, Gerald Sibanda.