The new executive committee of the Rwanda Rugby Federation chaired by newly elected President Tharcisse Kamanda has confirmed that his four-year tenure in office will focus on further development of the sport through the grassroots.
Kamanda was elected unopposed as the President of Rwanda Rugby Federation (RRF) on Sunday in Remera, Kigali City. The former Secretary-General replaced Alexis Araire who showed no interest to return for the second term.
He was elected in office alongside Vice President Gakirage Phillip, Secretary General Uwitonze Felix, Treasurer Ihirwe Delphine and the pair of auditors composed of Hakizimana Laurien and Mudaheranwa Claude.
Speaking to KT Sports on Monday, Kamanda said, “We major focus and resources will be focused on uplifting the sport from the grassroots level. For Rwandan rugby to reach its potential, we need to put in concrete strategies that will see the sport being played at a young age in primary and secondary schools,”
“We want to ensure that we have a strong foundation in schools to ensure that we have also regular schools competition because it’s through such competitions that we will a wide pool of players ready to be selected onto our national youth teams,” he added.
He further added that more focus will also be put into capacity building in terms of administration from the club to the federation leadership.
Women rugby development is also one of the main areas the new committee will look to improve such that the country can have as many women rugby players as possible.
Kamanda also noted that they will approach as many stakeholders as possible in search for sponsors such that the country can have a competitive national rugby league which is planned to start in January 2019 as well having a rugby pitch that can host more international competitions in the future. This will drive rugby to the glory that enthusiasts have sought for a long time
The senior men’s national rugby team, Silverbacks, recently earned promotion to the second tier of Africa Rugby competitions, “Africa Silver Cup” following the Africa Rugby Federation’s move to increase the number of teams from six to eight.
This means Rwanda joined seven other Africa Silver Cup nations namely; Botswana, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Senegal, Lesotho, Ghana and Mauritius.
The winners of Africa Silver Cup tournament get promoted to the top tier Africa Gold Cup tournament, while the bottom side is relegated to Africa Bronze Cup class.
“We are planning to stage early preparations such that the national team can make a positive impact in the next year’s continental competitions. If the National team is well prepared, I believe they can stage brilliant performances,” added Kamanda.
Kamanda has not only been former Secretary General but was the head of referees in 2012-2017, assistant women national coach 2014-2015, the player with the national team and player-coach with Kigali Sharks rugby club and with his experience, Rwandan rugby is expected to make promising strides.