The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE man behind the AMG Global Junior Rugby Coaching Festival held at Falcon College from Friday until Sunday, Orlando Fernandes has described this year’s fiesta as a tremendous experience for the youngsters as well as their coaches since they got to gain knowledge about the game.
A total of 16 institutions took part in this year’s festival, these being 10 primary and six high schools.
Fernandes, who started this initiative in 2016, felt that this year the players and their coaches drawn from schools all over the country got to benefit from the expertise provided by the four South Africans and the two Zimbabweans. Former Springboks prop Marius Hurter, ex Boks hooker Delarey Du Preez, Currie Cup stalwart Jacques Botes and renowned schoolboy rugby coach Greg Miller were the experts who came down from South Africa for the festival in Esigodini. They were assisted by two locals, Brendan Dawson and Schalk Ferreira.
“I think the festival has been an awesome experience, I think the boys have learnt a lot and I think it was quite evident to see the improvement in certain aspects of the game as the festival progressed. The coaches also benefited immensely from this, learning new drills, interacting with the Academy of Rugby coaches,’’ Fernandes said.
He was really grateful to the continued support from local schools seeing how tough the Zimbabwean economy is.
“The effort that the schools made to make sure that they participated I think bears testimony to the reputation of this festival or how it has grown over the years. I also think that we try to do different drills which kept the coaches that have been loyal supporters of this festival interested instead of repeating the same type of drills, we changed a lot so that they would learn something new,’’ he said.
He feels that the fiesta has played a significant role in developing rugby in Zimbabwe with players and coaches having been mentored by the South African experts since 2016.
“I think the festival was a success, I was impressed with the turnout, I was impressed with the number of coaches that have come. Over the years we have trained now more than 100 coaches from across the country, we have trained almost a thousand kids if not more in these four years that we have run the tournament.”
He paid credit to AMG Global who this year once again came out in a big way as the principal sponsors. Zimbabwe Lithium and Fawcett Security were the other bankrollers of the fiesta.
“The tournament would not obviously be a success without significant sponsors and we have to take our hats off to AMG Global, who have come out in a major way, each year we’ve hosted the festival, their continued support of the festival has been awesome and I am really grateful because honestly without their significant input this festival literally wouldn’t be possible. I would also like to thank our other sponsors, Zimbabwe Lithium and Fawcett Security who also played a role in making this festival happen,’’ he said.
Recently appointed Zimbabwe Under-14 coach Maxwell Madziva attended the AMG Global Junior Rugby Coaching Festival where he got an opportunity to have a look at some of the players as he prepares to take the Old Mutual Junior Sables to the Under-13 Craven Week in Mpumalanga at the end of June.
AMG Global Junior Rugby Coaching Festival final day results
Petra 22-27 Admiral Tait, Whitestone 25-5 Goldridge, Falcon College 22-12 Lomagundi, Northlea 012 Gateway, Highlands 27-0 Kyle Prep, Wise Owl/Welton 22-41 Heritage, Western Suburbs 14-36 Hillcrest