THE maiden East African Youth Rugby 7” Competition for the year 2017 will be held at the TGT grounds here from the 19th to the 20th of August, when Arusha gets to host the regional tourney.
Organized by the Arusha Rugby Development Project (ARDP) in association with the ‘Connect to Africa,’ institution from the United Kingdom, the East African Youth Rugby meet will involve young sports men and women aged between 15 and 19 years.
Arusha, on the other hand, remains the country’s rugby capital, boasting more than ten teams.
The event coordinator, Juma Kitilya said this is the first time that the regional youth competition is being held and it is being done to ensure that the rugby sport gets recognition and well deserved promotion so as to attract even more players and supporters in the country.
The youth rugby tournament has so far attracted participants from Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda, while the teams from Tanzania are expected to hail from Arusha, Tanga, Kilimanjaro and Dar-es-salaam.
Nearly 140 rugby players are expected to participate in the pioneering EA Youth Rugby 7” on that each of the five countries are to field 26 players. It is however still early because other countries may also join as the time goes by, according to the organizers.
Kitilya pointed out that, the competition comes at the time when the National Rugby Association is steeped in management scuffle and “Despite our efforts to contact the National Sporting Council (NSC) , things are still the same,” he said, adding that once the Tanzania Rugby Union (TRU) sails smoothly, then more games, tournaments and other related activities will be held on frequent basis.
“Right now we are doing our best, working to recruit youth players, trying to convince young teenagers to join the local training camps in Arusha, so as to ensure that this type of sport is sustained,” said Kitilya.