THE Zimbabwe national rugby team, the Sables,  got a short in the arm in their preparations for the Africa Cup after receiving a US$ 120 000 sponsorship from Nedbank on Thursday.

The sponsorship is valid for one year with a possibility for renewal.

Zimbabwe Rugby Union vice president Losson Mtongwizo said they welcome the sponsorship from Nedbank as they seek to eclipse football as the most followed sport in the country.

“With the sport landscape evolving, Zimbabwe Rugby Union aspires to advance in the same manner because rugby is no longer an elite sport,” said Mtongwizo.

“Participating in the SupersSport Challenge in South Africa has opened our eyes on the need to prepare properly. Also rugby has gone from being played at the lush green fields of Harare Sports Club to the dusty streets of Mbare to the river sand beds of Sahumani in Honde Valley.

“We have decision makers in rugby in key positions in most companies so we should grow to become the biggest followed sport in the country. 

“We can also take advantage of technology to increase viewership on social media. So with such sponsorship from Nedbank we are definitely going to grow rugby.”

Nedbank Sales Executive Heresy Herry pledged to help in the development of rugby in Zimbabwe.

“Nedbank will be rallying behind the Sables, and we look forward to playing our part to take rugby to the communities through various clinics. The ultimate goal is to raise  up more talent in schools, and clubs, to represent our beloved country on the global stage,” said Herry.

“We therefore encourage Zimbabweans from all walks of life, both locally and abroad, to join us in support of our Sables as they prepare for the Africa Cup and the 2023 World Cup.”

The Sables will take on Zambia in Harare on June 2 and June 5, and then clash with the Namibian Welwitschias in a home-and-away tie a week later.

They will then play against Blue Bulls Select in July as they wind up the preparations for the Africa Cup which also serves as the 2023 World Cup qualifiers. –