In the spirit of uniting Africa through sport, Khaled Babbou The President of Rugby Africa (www.RugbyAfrique.com) officially launched the #AfricaAsOne campaign, which has set off to echo support for all of Africa’s representatives taking African Rugby to the international field of play. Speaking on the freshly cut green, he emphasised Rugby Africa’s commitment to delivering teams from their preparation games, all the way to international fixtures such as the Olympic Games and others.
Currently only South Africa and Kenya have qualified for the Olympic Games in the men’s category. But Uganda and Zimbabwe still stand a chance through the Olympic Repechage. The Olympic Repechage is due to take place in Monaco on the 19th and 20th of June with the Olympic Games Tokyo starting on the 26th to the 28th of July for Men.
Through the leadership of Rugby Africa, African teams will be coming together to prepare the qualified teams for the Olympic Games and Olympic Repechage with friendly tournaments and shared preparation camps.
With Covid-19, opportunities to play have been limited and it has proven difficult for some teams to travel outside Africa. This will be a first of its kind initiative, where the term Solidarity really takes on its full meaning. Teams will share their experiences and learn from each other in the process. Even though these games are only friendly encounters, teams will gauge themselves against some of the best teams on the continent, to prove that they can compete at the highest level.
According to Andrew Owor, President Rugby Committee and Vice-President Rugby Africa the Men’s Sevens Solidarity Camp inauguration will take place on 6th May, and end on the16th of May and as usual, much action, speed and intensity is expected for the fans of the sport.
Steph Nel, Rugby Services Manager for Africa at World Rugby announced that the venue for this season’s fixtures will be at the leafy Stellenbosch Academy of Sports and Markotter Sports Field in South Africa.
Neil Powell, Coach Sevens Blitzboks spoke broadly on the readiness of his squad. According to Coach Powell, The Springbok Sevens team returned to full training at their Stellenbosch Academy of Sport base this week, with their eyes firmly fixed on their main goal for the season- success at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July.
‘We are extremely grateful for these tournaments, organised by Rugby Africa, to give ourselves and Kenya another opportunity to prepare for the games and hand Uganda and Zimbabwe playing time as they prepare for the repechage tournament to the Olympics, that will take place in Monaco in June,” said Coach Powell.
Michael Wandera Team Manager Uganda, which will be participating this season, also chorused Powell’s sentiments by thanking Rugby Africa for yet again dedicating time, resources and leadership in building the sport continentally and most importantly providing a platform for teams to be globally competitive.
Erick Ogweno Team Manager of Kenya looks forward to a stellar performance from his athletes, believing that they have invested much in discipline and endurance, which will guarantee the speed and agility of his squad for the field of play. He exclaimed that the appetite for the sport has seen tremendous growth in Kenya over the years and it is now more than ever important for the coaching staff and players to deliver wins for the fans in Kenya.
John Ewing, Team Manager Zimbabwe, anticipates an explosive encounter for his team, which he has calibrated for a clinical performance in the games scheduled. He spoke much of how teams have been through many challenges around training due to Covid-19 related restrictions. However, he strongly believes that much of what will decide the result of this year’s Camp, will be based on the team that was most resourceful in the grey areas of preparation.
Streaming live from Rugby Africa platforms, this year’s Men’s Sevens Solidarity Camp will bring together champions of African Sevens Rugby under one camp. Fans will also be able to watch highlights on the action-packed fixtures on Supersport, where they will be able to see interviews and snapshots as well. The Men’s Sevens Solidarity Camp promises to change the face of Rugby in Africa, open new ways, and opportunities for collaboration amongst coaching staff, players and more importantly fans.
Overall, this initiative will grow the influence of Rugby in Africa, drawing more inquisitive eyes to the oval-ball. Such Solidarity will inspire both young and old, to follow a sport that has already taught Africa that it is possible to be a dominating world champion. It is in this spirit that Andrew Owor, Vice President of Rugby Africa, and President of the Rugby Committee, wished all the participating teams the best of luck in the forthcoming Men’s Solidarity Camp.
Quick Facts: Men’s Sevens Solidarity Camp:
- Dates: 6 – 16 May
- Venue: Stellenbosch Academy of Sports and Markotter Sports Field
- Teams arrive: 6 May
- Tournament: 8 & 9 May – 14 & 15 May
- Teams: South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe