Mopani 15s Rugby Tournament a good eye opener for Zim club rugby: MSC

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The Mutare Sports Club rugby team won two matches and lost two at the Mopani 15s Rugby Tournament held last Saturday in Kitwe, Zambia.

…Zimbabwean companies urged to invest more towards club rugby

Ngoni Dapira

THE Mutare Sports Club (MSC) rugby team that arrived back home this morning (Monday) from the Mopani 15s Rugby Tournament in Zambia have urged Zimbabwean large-scale companies to take a leaf from the impressive corporate social responsibility sponsorship towards sport  by Mopani Copper Mines.

The Shumbas as they are fondly called did not come back empty handed after they won 1000 Zambian Kwacha (ZMK) for being the best organised team at the tournament. The third edition of the Mopani 15s Rugby Tournament which was played at Diggers Rugby Club in Nkana West in Kitwe last Saturday eventually saw 11 out of the anticipated 15 teams from the Zambia National Rugby League turn up and compete for the trophy and 4000 ZMK cash prize.

The winning Red Arrows airmen.

MSC was the only foreign team that participated after Harare Sports Club failed to attend. The defending champions Red Arrows clinched the Cup for the third year in a row after defeating Green Eagles 6-3 in the final. Eagles did not leave empty handed and received 1500 ZMK for their second place finish.See link: https://www.facebook.com/RedArrowsRugby2016/videos/1138486399636290/.

Mutare were drawn in the tough Pool B with the Zambian League defending champions Arrows, Lusaka and Nchanga. The hosts Diggers Sports Club were in Pool A with Eagles, Roan and Konkola, whilst Pool C comprised of Mufulira, KPF, Chibuluma, Arrows B and Pool D had Nkwazi, Ndola, Buffaloes and Kansanshi.

The Zambia Airforce sponsored side Red Arrows who are also currently the log leaders in the Zambia National Rugby League proved why they are the best team in the land. Even the Mutare Shumbas were no match to the side as they went down 3-0 to the airmen.

Action from the Mopani 15s Rugby Tournament in one of the matches.

The Shumbas however performed fairly well in foreign waters as they won two matches and lost two. They lost to the indomitable defending champions Red Arrows and 12-5 to Lusaka Rugby Club. Consolation came from victories against Nchanga Sports Club which they thumped 21-0 and Chibuluma 14-0.

MSC rugby team chairman Moss Kapumha said rugby was heavily bankrolled by mining companies in Zambia and Mopani Copper Mines was one of the biggest benefactors. He urged Zimbabwean companies to take a leaf from Zambia.

MSC technical team with the hosts from Diggers Rugby Club during an outing last Friday. They were taken out for dinner by the former Mayor of Kitwe and current Diggers Rugby club chairman Honourable Chileshe Bweupe (extreme left) and Diggers Rugby Club patron Stewart (centre).

“Rugby has a huge following and companies like Mopani Copper Mines endorse it heavily as part of its corporate social responsibility programmes. We received first class treatment in Kitwe.The four technical officials for MSC on Friday night we were taken out for dinner by the former Mayor of Kitwe and current Diggers Rugby club chairman Honourable Chileshe Bweupe where we also dined with the patron of Diggers Rugby Club Stewart at Nkana Golf Club. We networked a lot there and learnt a lot about the liveliness of the rugby culture in Zambia and growing corporate endorsement. This used to be the case in Zimbabwe back in the 1990s and we aim to revive this,” said Kapumha.

Kapumha added that a sizeable number of Zimbabweans based in Zambia came through to support them and it was truly humbling.

“Thank you again to all that supported this cause. We learnt a lot and hope to grow from it. We can do the same and host such a tournament back home. With the right synergies we will work on this in the future going forward,” said the MSC rugby chairman.

The annual Mopani 15s Rugby Tournament sponsored by Mopani Copper Mines which comprises of teams from the topflight Zambia National Rugby League started in 2016 and this year for the first time invited foreign teams.

This was the first time for the Mutare side to participate in an invitational tournament outside the country since 1993. They last participated in an invitational tournament in Malawi in 1993.

The Shumbas in the incumbent Northern (Harare) Rugby League are currently on fourth place behind Old Georgians, HSC and Old Hararians respectively followed by Alex Sports Club, XP Horns and Police Defenders which trail behind on fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively.

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