With 10 national teams competing for the title of African Champion, the tournament which will take place onMay 26 and 27 is likely to showcase some exciting rugby. It will be preceded by a conference on the theme of the place of women in rugby. 13 African unions’ representatives are expected as well as representatives of Rugby Africa and World Rugby, including the President of Rugby Africa, Abdelaziz Bougja and the General Manager for Women’s Rugby at World Rugby, Katie Seidler. Guest speakers Sarai Bareman, Chief Women’s Football Officer at FIFA and Ada Milby, Women Rugby Manager at Asia Rugby will share their experience with the delegates.
For Katie Seidler, this exceptional week for women’s rugby in Africa is an opportunity not to be missed: “The increasing involvement of women in rugby presents the single greatest opportunity for our sport in the next decade. It is critical to World Rugby’s vision of a ‘sport for all, true to its values’ and its mission to grow the global family … Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth and participation levels are at an all-time high. Women’s rugby in Africa is leading the way in terms of numbers of female players registered globally. This important conference hosted by the Botswana Rugby Union will enable the leaders of the region to take the next step in accelerating the development of women in rugby in Africa.”
As for the competition, the competing teams will approach this tournament with a view to preparing for the qualifications for the Olympic Games to be held next year. Teams from South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Madagascar, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Uganda and the host, Botswana, are expected in Gaborone. Mr Dave Gilbert, President of the Botswana Rugby Federation, is delighted to host the event: “It is wonderful for Botswana Rugby to showcase Women’s Rugby and be part of the future pathway for these female athletes. The Botswana Rugby Union and the Botswana National Sports Commission are very excited to be organizing and hosting this event which is the first of its kind in Rugby in Africa “.
A team of female referees will also be present with two South Africans, Ashleigh Murray and Lusanda Mtiya, Saudah Adiru from Uganda, Precious Pazani from Zimbabwe, and Aina Razafimamonjy from Madagascar.
Teams from Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal will form Pool 1. Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe will meet in pool 2 and lastly pool 3 will be made of Morocco, Botswana, Mauritius and Zambia.
Created in 1986, Rugby Africa, previously the African Confederation of Rugby (Confédération Africaine de Rugby – CAR), is one of the six regional associations composing World Rugby, the international organisation responsible for the governing of Rugby Union and Rugby Sevens. Rugby Africa unites all of the African countries which play rugby union, rugby sevens, and women’s rugby. Rugby Africa organises the Rugby Africa Gold Cup, the qualifying competition for the Rugby World Cup 2019, and Africa 7, a qualifying competition for the Olympic Games 2020. Rugby Africa has 38 members, including 22 members and associated members of World Rugby, 10 members and associated members of Rugby Africa and 16 new countries collaborating with Rugby Africa.