By FELIX MALUNGA –
AFTER rugby’s readmission as an Olympic Games sport, the Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) will this year roll out relevant programmes to improve the standard of the local sport.
With an eye on participating at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil, the ZRU wants to enhance competency among all those involved with the sport at any level.
ZRU president, Martin Musunka said in a statement in Ndola yesterday that it was the union’s resolve to improve the profile of rugby and take it to the next level.
Musunka said ZRU had outlined deliberate programmes of implementing and stepping up some of the activities in line with the International Rugby Board (IRB) requirements.
He cited the newly introduced Get Into Rugby Project and Rugby Ready Scheme as some of the IRB programmes.
“We have outlined deliberate programmes of implementing and stepping up some of the activities being encouraged by the International Rugby Board (IRB) like the newly introduced Get Into Rugby project and Rugby Ready scheme.
“The Get Into Rugby project is a new project which the IRB has introduced while the Rugby Ready plan is an old strategy,” he said.
Musunka said ZRU would ensure the local coaches and referees get their skills updated and knowledge upgraded.
He said the union had noticed regular changing global trends in terms of rugby rules and laws and that it was therefore imperative that the local trainers and referees were always aware of new developments.
ZRU was also planning to hold many administrators’ courses to sharpen administrative abilities for rugby officials at all levels.
“The major reason is to raise awareness and competency so that whoever is involved in the running of rugby at any level, is proficient. We shall ensure that we pursue investment for the coaches and referees to be exposed to high-level competencies,” Musunka said.
In liaison with the Zambia Rugby Coaches Association (ZRCA), ZRU would among several programmes hold Sevens coaching courses for level One, Two and Three, IRB rugby ready courses One, Two and Three, Development Skills training for Level One, Two and Three.
The ZRU president also said the Get Into Rugby programme was part of the new IRB strategy to support the growth of the game globally in partnership with member unions.
Partnership with member unions, Musunka said, was a central part of the IRB initiative to grow rugby as the sport was readmitted to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
He said the aim of the programme was to encourage players of all ages to Try, Play and Stay in Rugby, with a target of attracting one million new players and 15,000 new coaches and referees over the next four years.
Musunka added that as Zambia, the union had committed itself to set its meaningful target of implementing this programme in the first quarter of 2014.
“Get into Rugby will promote the values of the game and ensure children are encouraged to try rugby in a safe and progressive environment,” he said.