Cool Sports Reporter
EAGLESVALE School is expected to burst into life on Monday when Zimbabwe’s biggest Sevens rugby tournament by participation – the Eaglesvale Sevens – takes place on Africa Day.
According to the school’s sports director Cyprian “Supa” Mandenge, more than 100 games are scheduled for the day-long tournament where girls will also be taking part for the first time in the tournament.
At least 30 schools have confirmed participation for the 17th edition of the tournament, with some indicating that they will field two teams and an extra field has been created to cater for the growing number of teams taking part in the event.
The annual Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival that is hosted by Prince Edward School is the biggest schools XVs rugby festival in the country and but the Fire-Spitters of Eaglesvale take pride in their own Sevens Tournament that has grown to be the biggest in the shorter version of the game.
Mandenge, who is also the senior schools rugby coach this week told Cool Lifestyle that the tournament will start at 8am and will have teams coming from as far as Bulawayo.
“Thirty schools have confirmed participation and some of them will bring more than one team and according to the figure we have right now, this means we are going to have 96 games before the quarter-final stages.
“What is of importance also is the fact that though we as Eaglesvale School do not have a girls Sevens team, we have found it important to include the girls who will be taking part for the first time in the 17-year history of the tournament.
“The reason we have included the girls is that we acknowledge that there is talent in girls as well and they need more game-time if they are to develop as they are our future national team players and that is why we have created an extra field to accommodate them,” said Mandenge.
Some of the players that have come through this tournament and have gone on to make it big in the game include Takudzwa Ngwenya who is now playing for the United States, German-based Morgan Vangue and the trio of Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Lenience Tambwera and Shayne Makombe who have all gone on to play for the Zimbabwe Sables and Cheetahs.
However, much of the attention is likely to be on the main field where the likes of Prince Edward Tigers, Churchill Bulldogs, Allan Wilson, Mbare Academy and the hosts Eaglesvale will be fighting for top honours in the boys’ category.
Gifford are one side that will travel from Bulawayo for the tournament while girls champions Vainona, Royal College, and a number of schools from Chitungwiza give a true impression that the tournament caters for all.
However, of concern is the fact that schools in the mould of St John’s College, St George’s College, Peterhouse College, Falcon College, Lomagundi College will not be able to take part.
“Of course we would like to have as many schools as possible taking part in the tournament but this is an invitational tournament its open to all and those who are able, comfortable or are willing can take part, so it’s the schools decision to take part or not to.
“But the number of teams taking part this year has almost doubled compared to what we had last year and some schools actually come on match day asking to be fixture but that brings a strain on the event organisers,” said Mandenge.
Eaglesvale are also hoping to get a title sponsor for next year’s edition but Mandenge says they are in talks with Dariribord and Chippers who have agreed in principle to help them this year.