By Brain Murandu
FOREIGN scouts will be hunting for rugby talent when the annual Cottco rugby festival kicks off on Monday at Prince Edward High School in Harare. Sources in the rugby fraternity said scouts
from South Africa and Namibia will be looking for talented students to award them scholarships and contracts.
These scouts have been coming all along and only stopped during the farm invasions,” said a source who preferred anonymity.
In addition to drawing a total of 88 local school sides, this year’s edition of the festival has gained some international flavour with teams from Uganda and Botswana participating. There will also be referees coming from Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia to help officiate the over 120 matches scheduled for the festival which ends next Saturday.
The country boasts of fine talent in products of schools’ rugby such as Victor Mudawarima and Dominic Mandizha who used to play for Churchill and the former St George’s College’s duo of scrum-half Albert Hatidani and Tom Kazembe.
A total of 52 first teams and 36 Under 16 sides are set to battle it out at PE to prove their mettle.
The Prince Edward Tigers, now coached by ex-national team mentor Godwin Murambiwa, have been a prominent feature at the festival together with the Churchill bulldogs.
Other teams to feature at the event include Peterhouse, Gifford, Falcon College, Plumtree, Kyle College, Marist Brothers Nyanga, and Kutama Mission of Zvimba.
Awards at the tournament are lined up for the most disciplined side, most improved side and team that exhibits the most flair.
Meanwhile the ZRU has lined up inter-provincial rugby ties for the league’s senior men’s sides – Under 21s and women’s teams this weekend at Mutare Sports Club.
Matabeleland, Mashonaland, Midlands and Mashonaland Country District are expected to send teams to Mutare for the contest which begins tomorrow.
The inter-provincial contest gives a break to the premier rugby league which has been running for two weeks and affords national selectors the opportunity to have a look at prospective national team material on offer.
ZRU is going it alone after losing sponsorship from Puzey and Payne and Farmec companies who sponsored the competition in the past.