PREPARATIONS for this year’s edition of the annual Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival to be held at Prince Edward School in Harare from April 30 to May 6 have gathered momentum, with the registration of participating teams already underway.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
A packed lineup of 150 local and foreign school teams is expected to take part in the rugby fiesta which has over the years grown to become one of the biggest schools rugby festivals in the world, attracting participants from the southern African region and beyond.
The rugby festival recently received a major boost after its title sponsors — Dairibord Zimbabwe (Private) Limited — renewed their sponsorship package for the next three years.
Dairibord Schools Rugby festival director Tawanda Jimu said this year’s festival would run under the theme #UnstoppableMomentum.
“Our preparations for this year’s Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival are progressing well and we are confident of hosting yet another successful event. This year’s edition of the festival will be running under the theme #UnstoppableMomentum. Obviously we are very excited as our main sponsors Dairibord Zimbabwe [Private] Limited recently renewed their sponsorship of the festival by three years, which will see them remaining as our title sponsors until 2019,” Jimu said.
The festival has identified and nurtured local rugby talent in Zimbabwe, producing stars such as Tendai Mtawarira and Tonderai Chavhanga, who have gone on to showcase their talent at the biggest stage for the South African national team.
Furthermore, the annual school’s rugby festival has also helped to improve the standards of the game in the previously nontraditional rugby playing schools in some of the remotest parts of the country.
Jimu, who is also the Prince Edward School sports director, said they were expecting a field of 150 teams to take part in this year’s rugby festival.
“Team registration is now underway and we are looking to have a lineup of 150 teams from various parts of the country. Windhoek Gymnasium from Namibia have already confirmed that they will be coming to grace the festival and we are also expecting two other teams from Zambia,” Jimu said.
Five years ago the rugby festival introduced a girls’ tournament as part of its development initiative while last year the competition introduced junior school teams on the programme for the first time.
“The girls’ competition continues to grow and this year we are expecting 34 girls’ teams to grace the festival. We have also dedicated one of the days [Wednesday May 3] for the second edition of the Primary Schools Tournament which is now in its second year and we are looking forward to 16 coming through to participate,” he said.