The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
LOCAL rugby players have started benefiting from the World Rugby Food and Medical Relief funds made available to the Zimbabwe Rugby Union which are meant to assist those associated with the sports whose lives have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.
World Rugby availed 5 000 Euros to ZRU through World Rugby to support local players and officials cope with harsh effects of Covid-19. Yesterday, the food hampers purchased using part of the funds were unveiled at a ceremony in Harare.
ZRU vice president, Losson Mtongwiza thanked Rugby Africa for the funds which he said will assist the needy in the rugby fraternity.
“We obviously need to thank Rugby Africa for the generous donation of the funds we are using to help part of our vulnerable groups. Today marks the official beginning of the handover process of the foodstuffs procured to assist the rugby community. We received a total of 5 000 Euros from Rugby Africa to help our rugby community and U$3 000 has been used to procure and distribute food hampers,’’ Mtongwiza said.
According to Mtongwiza, the rest of the money will be used for procuring medical necessities as recommended by the ZRU medical team and the Sports and Recreation Commission. This is in anticipation of the reopening of rugby.
Abigail Mnikwa, the chairperson of the subcommittee responsible for distributing the funds said the food hampers will be given to all the national team players that are in the country, that is the fifteens as well as sevens men and women together with their technical staff, medical personal as of 2019. All referees who did international games in 2019 and the ZRU secretariat will also get hampers. The hampers contain two kilogrammes of rice, 1kg salt and 10kg roller meal.
“The food hampers will go to the senior national team players for both the Cheetahs and the Sables, for men and women and their technical teams as of 2019. The food hampers will also go to the secretariat and referees that participated in international games in 2019. Mealie-meal to be allocated to provinces according to the number of clubs within each province. It will be the responsibility of the provincial chairman to make sure that the people who are in need the most benefit from this mealie-meal,’’ she said.
Shingi Mpofu, the chairman of the athletes’ commission commended ZRU for ensuring that the players do not feel neglected.
“Players are always incentivised and inspired to do well when they know that the mother body is looking out for their interests,’’ Mpofu said.
Rugby is one of the sporting activities still prohibited in the country as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. This means locally based players who relied on allowances from national or club assignments have been left with no sources of income.