WOMEN’S rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth and participation levels are at an all-time high, says Katie Seidler. Ten national teams will compete in the Africa Women’s Sevens tournament scheduled for May 26-27 in Botswana.
Teams from Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal will form Pool 1, while pool 2 will comprise Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Zambia is in pool 3 together with Morocco, Botswana and Mauritius. The tournament will be preceded by a conference on the theme of the place of women in rugby. 13 African unions’ representatives are expected, including Women’s Rugby at World Rugby general manager Seidler and Rugby Africa president Abdelaziz Bougja.
Guest speakers Sarai Bareman, chief women’s football officer at FIFA and Ada Milby, women rugby manager at Asia Rugby, will also share their experience with the delegates. Seidler said the increasing involvement of women in rugby presents the single greatest opportunity for the sport in the next decade.
“It is critical to World Rugby’s vision of a ‘sport for all, true to its values and its mission to grow the global family … Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth and participation levels are at an all-time high. Women’s rugby in Africa is leading the way in terms of numbers of female players registered globally. This important conference hosted by the Botswana Rugby Union will enable the leaders of the region to take the next step in accelerating the development of women in rugby in Africa,” she said.
According to a statement from Rugby Africa, the competing teams will approach the tournament with a view to preparing for the qualifications for the Olympic Games to be held next year. Botswana Rugby Federation president Dave Gilbert is delighted to host the event.
“It is wonderful for Botswana Rugby to showcase Women’s Rugby and be part of the future pathway for these female athletes. The Botswana Rugby Union and the Botswana National Sports Commission are very excited to be organising and hosting this event which is the first of its kind in rugby in Africa,” said Gilbert.
A team of female referees will also be present including Ashleigh Murray and Lusanda Mtiya from South Africa, Saudah Adiru (Uganda), Precious Pazani (Zimbabwe) and Aina Razafimamonjy from Madagascar.