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Africa Rugby schedules date for review of its activities later this month

By People Daily
Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
Kenya’s lock Simon Muniafu escapes tackling attempts during a test match against Germany in Nairobi in 2017. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE

Nairobi, Tuesday

Rugby Africa will review the continent’s activities and competitions on May 28 to announce a new roadmap to return to action, officials said on Monday.

Khaled Babbou, Rugby Africa president, said they are in continuous contact with the 54 rugby unions across the continent, regions as well as World Rugby on the possible resumption of action as countries continue to open up after combating the coronavirus.

Kenya was due to stage the Continental Under-20 Junior tournament in Nairobi in May, but the event was postponed among many other international events.

The Nairobi tournament is the only junior tournament in Africa, and eight countries were due to compete for the title.

Participating teams in 2020 were Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia.

“The continuous contact and information exchange with the affiliate countries and regions as well as World Rugby has been constructive.

Though the full program of competitions will not be delivered as planned before the end of the year 2020, we are considering several approaches including a return-to-play strategy,” Babbou said.

“We are looking at supporting of regional initiatives for cross-border matches and tournaments if the delivery of continental competitions is impossible,” he added.

Rugby Africa Executive Committee held an online meeting on Thursday to review the lockdown measures including closing of land borders and suspension of international flights happening in most of the countries throughout Africa.

Babbou noted that in light of rescheduled or cancelled sports events everywhere, Rugby Africa has focused discussions on the process to consider the restart of competitions when appropriate.

“Rugby Africa is committed to support the fight against the COVID-19. The safety and welfare of our players and fans is at the heart of our concern.

It is these criteria we are looking at for the return-to-play strategy,” he added.

Rugby Africa will monitor the easing or continuation of lockdown measures and will prioritize the health and well-being of all the players, partners and fans across the continent.

“This journey pushes us to explore new ways to deliver sports values in a safe environment. Through that lens, we will continue to make decisions with vigilance and courage.

Rugby Africa will work closely with World Rugby on its global return-to-play model in consultation with members unions and regions and to ensure a bespoke and relevant strategy for Africa whilst aligned with directives and guidelines from the mother body,” Babbou noted. - Xinhua

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