BRU readies to host Africa women’s sevens

Tlotlo Kebinakgabo

Botswana will host the 2018 Africa women’s sevens championships, Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) president, Dave Gilbert, has told this publication.

The tournament, which was supposed to be hosted by Mauritius, was handed to Botswana after the initial hosts pulled out. “They couldn’t host it due to some reasons so it was then decided by Rugby Africa that Botswana could be hosts,” Gilbert said. “We haven’t finalised dates on which we are going to host it as we just received rights to host it last week Thursday but I’m confident that it is going to take place immediately after the IWG conference; three or four days after it.”

The International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) will be held in Gaborone from the 17th to the 20th of May.

Gilbert further highlighted that they (BRU) were due to host the men’s silver cup in July but ended up sacrificing it for the women’s sevens cup. “That is because we don’t have the capacity to host two tournaments in one year. Finances are always a stumbling block and we also considered that it would be a nice thing for us to host it after the IWG conference,” said Gilbert who is also the president of Rugby Africa.

He said the hosting of the tournament is a great plus for Botswana as it is an All Africa tournament which is used as an Olympics qualifier, something which puts the local team in a better place to qualify. “It’s really a huge thing for us as it has never been held in the sub Saharan Africa before which means we are the first  and I think we will get a lot of people to watch because ladies rugby has improved all over the world in recent years,” he said.

Gilbert however told this publication that they are yet to receive hosting approval from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). “I don’t see them not allowing us to host as we are not looking for money from them to host. All we want from them is for them to allow us to use their facilities (stadium and transport) for free or at reduced prices,” he noted.

“World Rugby and Rugby Africa have allocated us the tournament; they are also prepared to put in the hosting fee which we will obviously have to top up through sponsors so I really don’t see any reason why BNSC would stop that tournament from being held if we are not asking for money from them.”

He further said the hosting of the tournament would be a great advert for Botswana sports. “I mean it will also come after the IWG conference and it is also a women’s tournament so I think it will show how serious we are beginning to take women in sports serious in Botswana,” he highlighted.

The previous tournament was held in Monastir, Tunisia, were South Africa emerged as victors.