By GODFREY DUBE –
RED Arrows will be hoping to win their fifth cup competition of the season when they compete in the 2017 David Abel Ray Phiri (DARP) Memorial Rugby Challenge.
The airmen missed out on the title last year after losing 12-10 to winners Kitwe Playing Fields (KPF).
Organisers have pumped in K30, 000 into the prize money which would see the winners of the main cup, named Owen Busange, in honour of the former coach, pocket K12, 500 while the runner up would get K6, 500.
Third place finisher stand to go away with K3,500 and K2,500 for the fourth placed team while the Bwalya Kapasa cup winner would get K2,000 with runner up getting K1,000 with the Player of the Tournament pocketing K2,000.
Arrows, who have already bagged the Zambia Rugby Union 10’s, Mopani Copper Mines 15’s, American and Konkola Sevens tournaments, are in Pool C along with rivals ‘Men At Work’ Diggers and Ndola Wanderers.
Diggers are the other side to have won a cup competition this year winning the Roan Sevens while the Mufulira Sevens was won by Golden Lions of South Africa.
Hosts ‘Powerhouse’ Lusaka are in Pool D with defending champions KPF, Chibuluma and Roan as Nkwazi make up Pool A with Green Buffaloes, Air Force Rugby and Prop Legends while Pool B has Mufulira, Green Eagles and Lusaka B.
Only the top two sides from each Pool would advance to the quarterfinals of the main cup while the rest would drop into the challenge cup.
This year’s event would not have guest’s sides from Zimbabwe who withdrew due to financial constraints. Teams will not pay any participation fees as in the tradition of the DARP Challenge.
The DARP Challenge was called the Lusaka Challenge but was rechristened following the death of prominent citizen David A.R. Phiri, who was also Lusaka Rugby Club president.
The tournament also honours legendary club player and coach Busange, who was also the national sevens coach, who died in a road traffic accident on the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriageway on March 26, 2011 along with two Lusaka players Kapesa and Mwango Katema, who was a UK based rugger.