Midlands rugby had retrogressed following the pull out of Lions sponsorship and the lack of national league action. This inactivity motivated Sithole to concentrate on reviving and spreading the game through the region.
A level one rugby coach and graduate of the SA based Boston College Sports Administration and Management, Sithole told this reported that the idea of starting a rugby academy has been at the back of his mind since high school. He is of the opinion that the game needs to be decentralise as mostly MCC players are selected for provincial teams.
â€œLove of the game motivated me to encourage upcoming male and female players. During the recently ended ‘Under 20 Rugby World Cup’, I had the privilege of being part of the process as a serving liaison official. This highlighted our shortcomings for me and I realised that through the academy, players from the Midlands could rise to represent the national team and improve the game of rugby in the region,â€ said Sithole.
â€œThe aim of the academy is to spread the game of rugby to the less privileged and to intensify the commitment of rugby playing schools in the Midlands so that we get more players from here being selected to the national team.â€
Zweli Khethabantu Sibanda, a level one coach currently doing Sports Science with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Kelvin Banda, a level one and two rugby coach and Sports Administrator accredited by World Rugby as well as Zwelonke Mloyiswa, Gweru Sports Club chairman and former national team player will also be donating their time and resources to the academy.
The academy, set to launch on Friday 17th June, will target not only youngsters from the age of 10, but also more senior players. Initially, training will be offered on Fridays but it is hoped that this will be increased to more days per week. A session will include an hour of tutoring and two hours of practical training.
Sithole says the current challenge is finding sponsorship in order to provide adequate training equipment. So far only one Gweru company, Bonfire Restaurant, has assisted with food and refreshments for the children. He is most grateful to the Gweru Sports Club who will make their facilities and training equipment available to the academy.
It is of the utmost importance that the game of rugby stops being perceived as an elite sport played only by schools and clubs based in urban centres. The opening of this rugby academy hopes to offer opportunities to the less privileged sectors of society in line with the Zimbabwe Rugby Unionâ€™s call for the decentralisation of the game.Post published in: Sport