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In the spirit of uniting Africa through sport, Khaled Babbou The President of Rugby Africa (www.RugbyAfrique.com) officially launched the #AfricaAsOne campaign, which has set off to echo support for all of Africa's representatives, taking African Rugby to the international field of play. Speaking on the freshly cut green, he emphasised Rugby Africa’s commitment to delivering teams from their preparation games, all the way to international fixtures such as the Olympic Games and others.
Currently, only Kenya has qualified in the Olympic Games for the Women’s category. But Tunisia and Madagascar still stand a chance at the Olympic Repechage. The Olympic Repechage is due to take place in Monaco on the 19th and 20th of June, with the Olympic games starting on the 29th to the 31st of July for Women.
Through the leadership of Rugby Africa, African teams will be coming together to prepare the qualified teams for the Olympic Games and Olympic Repechage, with friendly tournaments and shared preparation camps.
With Covid-19, opportunities to play have been limited and it has proven difficult for some teams to travel outside Africa. This will be a first of its kind initiative, where the term Solidarity really takes on its full meaning. Teams will share their experiences and learn from each other in the process. Even though these games are only friendly encounters, teams will gauge themselves against some of the best teams on the continent, to prove that they can compete at the highest level.
On behalf of Société Générale, Pierre Caillaud, Head of Sports Sponsorship said, “We are happy to emphasise our support for the development of Women’s Rugby on the continent, through our participation as a sponsor for the Women’s Sevens Solidarity Camp. Société Générale and Rugby have a long history, over 30 years of commitment based on shared values: team-spirit and respect. Ever since, the partnership has continued to grow stronger and build initiatives at all levels, from grassroots to professionals, both locally and internationally.
According to Paula Lanco, President of the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee, the year's camp is scheduled to start on the 29th of April and is expected to end on the 9th of May. It will be hosted at La Maison du Rugby in the sunny capital of Tunis, in Tunisia.
Speaking on the sidelines, Maha Zaoui, Women’s Rugby Manager, teams are set to arrive on the 29th of April with key tournament dates being on the 1st, 2nd, 7th, and 8th of May. Further to this expected to be part of the encounter are teams from Kenya, Tunisia, and Madagascar.
Amara Nouredine, Director of the Tunisia Rugby Union, also had the opportunity to share hisexcitement in hosting the inaugural event, bolstering her organisations support of the #AfricaAsOne campaign, which is broadly speaking to the Covid-19 challenges the game has faced in the last year. As the host country, Tunisia counts on the support of their fans on social media even though they can’t be present in the stadium due to Covid.
Camilyn Oyuayo, Team Manager of the Kenyan Lionesses, expressed her excitement for her pride of players, noting that they had worked exceptionally hard to achieve a high level of fitness and endurance, in time for the Women’s Solidarity Camp. This was due to the Kenyan Lionesses having commenced the preparation campaign with participation in the Madrid 7s and Emirates 7s tournaments. Camilyn is convinced that working from the successes and lessons of the past is the greatest asset that the team holds. In many ways Rugby has entered a new normal, but the invaluable lessons of the past still hold their worth in the game today. As the coaching staff, our goal is to be clerics of Rugby, willing and able to share the story of the game with both amateur and professional players.
Victor Lie-Andriavelomanana, CEO Malagasy Rugby thanked Rugby Africa for showing its commitment to the sport through the Covid-19 pandemic, which assures fans and players alike that its leadership is dependable and here to stay in the name of Rugby. He appropriately emphasised the focus and determination of his staff and players, whom he believes will raise the flag of Madagascar high, as they have ordinarily done in the past years.
Streaming live from Rugby Africa platforms, this year's Women’s Sevens Solidarity Camp will be yet again another progressive milestone for the inclusion of women into the sport. Setting the tone for up-and-coming sports women on the continent in Rugby, the Women’s Solidarity Camp aims to achieve an exemplary showcase of talent and performance.
Quick Facts: Women’s Sevens Solidarity Camp
Dates: 29 April – 9 May Venue: La Maison du Rugby, Tunis, Tunisia Teams arrive: 29 April Tournament: 1&2 May, 7&8 May Teams: Kenya, Tunisia, Madagascar
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Rugby Africa.
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Women’s Ruby in Africa:
On the African continent, women’s rugby has seen tremendous growth. In the last decade it increased from 50 000 female players in 2012, to over 260 000 in 2018 and 350 000 in 2020.
For this tremendous growth to continue, strong leadership in women’s rugby needs to continue, the Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship is one of the tools that will enable this.
Africa will also be well represented when South Africa participates in the next rugby World Cup women in New Zealand in 2022 and Kenya in the Olympic Games in 2021.
About Rugby Africa:
Created in 1986, Rugby Africa, previously the African Confederation of Rugby (Confédération Africaine de Rugby – CAR), is one of the six regional associations composing World Rugby (WorldRugby.org), the international organization responsible for the governing of Rugby Union and Rugby Sevens. Rugby Africa unites all African countries which play rugby union, rugby sevens, and women’s rugby. Rugby Africa organizes the qualifying competition for the Rugby World Cup, and Africa Sevens, a qualifying competition for the Olympic Games. Rugby Africa has 39 members.