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Mwana Group Unveils Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival

Harare – Rugby fans in Zimbabwe and beyond have a reason to celebrate after Mwana Group Pvt Ltd, a leading multinational conglomerate, announced the launch of a rebranded international schools rugby festival that will run until 2029.

The Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival, former known as the Cottco Schools Rugby Festival and later the Dairiboard Schools Rugby Festival is set to kick off its inaugural edition at Prince Edward School in Harare from April 29 to May 4, 2024.

The festival aims to grow the sport of rugby in Zimbabwe and showcase its talent to the world. It will feature a wide array of teams from top rugby schools in Zimbabwe, international touring teams, developmental sides, and female participants. They will compete in two age categories, under 16 and under 18, following the Zimbabwe Schools Rugby regulations.

Kuda Mutenda, the Managing Director of Mwana Group and the Tournament Director, expressed his excitement for the event. “We are proud to take over this franchise for the next five years and rebrand it as the Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival. This is a prestigious event that will put Zimbabwe on the map of rugby excellence,” he said.

Mutenda also revealed the festival’s schedule, which includes both competitive and developmental aspects. “On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we will focus on rugby development, outreach programs, coaching clinics, and initiatives to nurture the growth of rugby across Zimbabwe. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, we will showcase rugby excellence, celebrate rugby culture, and hone talent development to international standards,” he explained.

The organizers have high hopes for the participants in the 2024 Festival, who they believe will form a significant talent pool for selection in the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia and the 2028 Rugby 7s team for the Los Angeles Olympics. They are confident that Zimbabwe can qualify and compete for medals, and they are committed to supporting the structures that make this a reality.

The festival also aligns with the government’s NDS1 policy framework, aimed at achieving a prosperous middle-income country by 2030. Mwana Group Pvt Ltd, said, as a firm believer in the transformative power of sports, sees this initiative as a way to contribute to the national vision.

Mutenda assured that the festival would be conducted at the same level of professionalism as the Olympics, adhering to international best practices. “Nothing will be left to chance as Zimbabwe, as a country, will be on show to the whole world,” he emphasized.

The preparations are well underway, with just seven months remaining before the tournament begins. Health Point, the tournament’s Health Partner, has committed to providing one ambulance and three qualified medics for each game, along with a stand-alone mobile clinic available throughout the festival.

Crucial developments include the maintenance of the four rugby fields at Prince Edward for a month before and after the tournament to meet international standards and gain approval from the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU). The Zimbabwe Rugby Referees Association has also reached an agreement to ensure at least four qualified officials per game.

International teams from Japan, Germany, Romania, the United Kingdom, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, and Botswana have expressed positive interest in participating.

Mwana Group and its co-sponsors have allocated substantial resources to ensure the tournament meets world-class standards.

Furthermore, the festival will include supplementary programs, such as Level 1 Coaching Classes, Level 1 Referee Classes, a one-day certificate course in Sports Science, a one-day Certificate Course in Sports Health (covering nutrition, injuries, and more), and a one-day certificate course for Rugby Managers’ Course.

Backed by substantial financial support, the tournament boasts an impressive initial investment of US$250,000, the festival is poised to etch its name in rugby history as an unparalleled event, Mutenda told journalists at a press briefing on Friday.

Prince Edward sports director Tawanda Jimua expressed his joy at hosting the country’s oldest schools’ rugby festival after a four-year hiatus.

“We are thrilled to have Mwana Group and its partners on board to revive this prestigious event. We can’t wait to welcome the best rugby teams from Zimbabwe and beyond,” he said.