By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Rugby Union (ZRU) on Saturday handed over food hampers and mealie-meal worth 3000 euros to rugby players and clubs around the country in a bid to help them through the coronavirus crisis.
An amount of 5 000 Euros was made available to the Zimbabwe Rugby Union through Rugby Africa at the end of June and the funds are meant to assist local rugby players cope with difficulties brought about by the coronavirus.
Speaking during the handover ceremony Losson Mtongwiza, the ZRU vice-president expressed his appreciation to the Rugby Africa leadership for the funds which he said will play a huge part in easing the burden that was brought on Zimbabwean rugby players by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We obviously need to thank Rugby Africa for the generous donation of the funds we are using to help part of our vulnerable groups… Funds set aside for food allowed us to procure 243 bags of mealie meal and 181 food hampers. We also received a generous donation of 19 food hampers from Pro Bands to take the total of food hampers to 200,” Mtongwiza said.
“With guidance from our board and the sub committees, the hampers will go to chosen senior national team players both male and female, former players, referees who covered international games in 2019 and a few clubs. We have a lot of stakeholders who are in need. However, the funds could not be stretched to cover everyone,” he said.
The hampers will be given to all the national team players that are in the country, that is the fifteens as well as sevens men and women together with their technical staff, medical personnel as of 2019.
All referees who took charge of international games in 2019 and the ZRU secretariat will also get hampers.
From the 243 bags of mealie meal, chairmen from every province will get an allocation, with the numbers to be determined by the number of registered clubs in that area. The mealie meal is meant to be given to the neediest players in the clubs.
The remaining 2000 euros from the Covid-19 relief fund will be used for the acquisition of personal protection equipment for players and medical personnel when rugby finally gets the green light to resume.
“We received a total of 5000 euros from Rugby Africa to help our rugby community and 3000 euros has been used to procure and distribute food hampers. The rest of the money is going to be used for procuring medical necessities as recommended by our medical team and the Sports and Recreation Commission. This is in anticipation of the resumption of rugby activities, hopefully soon,” said Mtongwiza.
Meanwhile former Sables player Shingi Mpofu, who is a player representative on the ZRU board, welcomed the good gesture towards local rugby players.
“Players are always incentive and inspired to do well when they know that their mother body is always looking out for their interest,” Mpofu said.
Rugby is one of the sporting activities still prohibited in the country as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.