By Twimepoki Mangani
Lilongwe March 17 Mana: Malawi Rugby Union (MARU) has relished the steady developmental strides they have taken to establish the sport in different districts, schools and through regional leagues.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Thursday, MARU Chairperson, Justine Mkandawire noted the heights the game is achieving while pointing out the effects of Covid 19 on its development in Primary schools
“We celebrated our second annual league for all the categories played. Our national team has players but its mobilisation is a bit difficult because of finances however we are looking for options to explore,” Mkandawire said.
Meanwhile MARU Youth Development officer, Jack Mphande outlined efforts in partnering with their affiliates and confirmed the presence of rugby in different parts of the country from Chitipa, Mzuzu to Mulanje.
“Recently officials from Malawi National Council of Sports and Ministry of Sports were invited to witness our activities and growth but we need more people to assist us financially for further development,” he said.
Mphande went on to compare the standard of Malawian Rugby to that of South Africa and England and explained the manner the sport is executed at primary level.
Founder and Coach of Venom Rugby Academy, Neil Barron Black hailed their recent work with Malawian players which helped them to win the under 18 league and further expressed delight for contributing to the growth of the sport..
“This year we put in a new system where we are supporting Malawian rugby by offering scholarships into our academy, after running trails for those within the age range of 14-16.
“Venom makes donations of brand new equipment from the UK and I sponsor the league in terms of transport, medals, first aid and payments for the ground,” Black said.
The Malawian Rugby team, the Leopards are active in Rugby sevens and have participated in different international tournaments and look forward to an outing in April.
Independent projects such as the LSU Rugby project and Bhubesi Pride Foundation are currently operational with the latter helping schools that play rugby with almost 900 kids participating, with recommended Coaches and facilities.
The winners of the boys under 18, 2023 Venom Rugby Academy league are Venom Rugby Academy seconded by Area 49 Lions Club while Hippo Rugby Club are champions for the girls with the Venom girls team as runners-up and the men’s league is to kick off on the 25th March.