Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Bulawayo Metropolitan Rugby Football Board (BMRFB) will today continue with their Under-21 tournament at Hartsfield Grounds despite reports that the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) have dissolved the entire board.
BMRFB elected new board members at the beginning of the month, with real estate executive Craig Change taking over from Delvin Ismail, while Thembelani Ncube retained the vice-chairman’s post. George Hlatshwayo was voted to the position of secretary and their term is supposed to end in November 2023.
ZRU claim “squabbles” that have affected the growth of the sport in Bulawayo were the major reason for dissolving the board that seemingly hit the ground running, instituting an audit for the period 2017 to 2019 in a bid to cleanse its image and rekindle interest in the game.
The board said they will terminate the Hartsfield Tshisa Nyama contract to ensure the venue reverts to being solely associated with rugby.
And now that the new board has hit the ground running, ZRU say they will appoint a “normalisation” committee that will run the affairs of BMRFB for two years, denying the elected board an opportunity to implement the ideas that its affiliates have mandated it to pursue.
Last weekend, the BMRFB launched the Under-21 boys’ rugby competition, with five teams, Old Miltonians, Highlanders, Matabeleland Warriors, Bulldogs and Bulawayo Dugger Boys competing in a league programme that will run for seven weeks, leading to the start of the senior men’s league in April.
Powerhouses Old Miltonians clobbered Highlanders 53-3, with Matabeleland Warriors winning 36-3 against Bulldogs. Bulawayo Dugger Boys were on a bye.
Simba Dangah, BMRFB spokesperson said they are not deterred by reports that the Bulawayo board has been suspended.
“We’re going ahead with the Under-21 programme, we are playing rugby this weekend and being a holiday we hope more rugby enthusiasts will come to Hartsfield to watch the boys,” said Dangah.
On the dissolution of the BMRFB, Dangah said: “We read in the Press about that (board being dissolved) and what we are doing is to concentrate on the games. Rugby is the ultimate priority. We will play rugby. Those in the boardroom will deal with the boardroom matters. Those of us in the fields will continue to train and play while boardroom issues are sorted.”
Matabeleland Warriors lock horns with Highlanders with Old Miltonians and Bulldogs squaring off in another fixture.
Dugger Boys have failed to raise a team for the weekend and are likely to be replaced by Gweru.
Meanwhile, two women’s select teams will clash in a curtain raiser to be played at 2PM. — @ZililoR