Sport has become big business around the world, a billion-dollar industry that sustains many livelihoods. It takes talent that captivates audiences and in turn draw commercial interests that sustain the various sporting disciplines and help them reach their highest possible potential.
Elsewhere in this edition we carry the story of the National Under 20 Rugby team, the Young Sables, who have shown great potential, beating all on the continent not just once.
The team’s commendable performance has seen it qualify for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy slated for Kenya in July. The Junior Sables qualified for the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy last month after crushing Tunisia in the semi-finals of the Rugby Africa Barthes U20 Trophy in Nairobi.
The Young Sables’ victory and Kenya’s 24-13 win against Namibia in the other semi-final meant Zimbabwe booked their ticket to the 2023 World Rugby Under-20 Junior Trophy slated for 15 to 30 July, also in Nairobi. The World Rugby Under 20 Trophy is the second level of the World Rugby tournament structure for Under-20 national sides in which champions qualify for the top-tier competition, World Rugby Under 20 Championship 2024.
The Junior Sables have won 11 out of 12 games including two Barthes Trophies making them back-to-back African Champions in 2022 and 2023.
At the World Cup finals, Zimbabwe will play in Pool A against Scotland, Uruguay, United States of America (USA) and Canada.
Amid the triumph that should elicit much joy, there is cautious optimism in the team’s camp as the members keep their fingers crossed as the parent body seeks sponsorship to ensure that their dream of taking part in the tournament in Kenya becomes a reality. We also would like to add our voice to that of the Zimbabwe Rugby Union that corporates need to step up and help the national side carry our flag with pride through sponsorship. They have earned their stripes. We often hear that losing teams fail to attract sponsorships but we believe this is a winning brand that every business would want to be associated with.
The team is seeking funds to cover training camp costs, their travel, meals and accommodation as well as a World Trophy kit and funds that will cater for players and coaches’ welfare throughout their stay in Kenya.
“So far, the response has been fair and we are still appealing for more corporates to come through ahead of our tour to Kenya. At the moment, I can’t mention the corporates that have come through as it is still premature to do that. We will do that at the proper time,” said Hugh Vera of the ZRU.
Let us support the boys and ensure that the young people that take part in all forms of sport feel the nation’s support. They deserve it, seeing that they have made winning games their habit!