HARARE – Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president John Falkenberg says the union is on the verge of securing major sponsorship to fund the nation side’s 2015 World Cup qualification bid.
Falkenberg, whose administration has adopted an open-door policy with stakeholders of the local game, was responding to fans queries during a question-and-answer session on Kyros Rugby, a Zimbabwean rugby Facebook forum.
“We have a major sponsor for our World Cup campaign and are in the finale stages of securing the sponsorship!,” revealed the ZRU boss to one of the questions.
The Sables will mid next year take part in Africa’s final qualification tournament in Madagascar against Namibia, Kenya and the hosts.
The winner of the tournament will seal passage to the 2015 World Cup in England – and Zimbabwe have place great emphasis in returning to world rugby’s biggest showcase for the first time in 22 years.
“To address the question on sponsorship, we continue to operate in an incredibly difficult market, but we have been working to get into corporate's budgets for 2014,” added Falkenberg.
“The Famous Grouse sponsorship is going well, but we need to grow the popularity of the sport to offer better mileage for current and potential sponsors.”
Zimbabwe are just coming out of a tri-nation tournament in Windhoek against Namibia and Kenya, where they lost a closely-fought opener against the hosts before beating the East Africans quite comfortably. Falkenberg says the union has put in place plans to keep momentum going ahead of next year’s crucial tournament in Madagascar.
“We have had a start meeting with the technical team. Unfortunately a great deal is limited by what resources we have- so we have to be realistic. We hope to have a sponsorship programme in place for March 2014. We will therefore look to hold a camp before then, with our strength and conditioning programme continuing. In April, May and early June we will look to have a minimum of three high-profile matches to prepare for the qualifiers.
‘We will look to hold a concentrated programme in April-May and June with a minimum of three high-profile matches. These matches will be targeted at a Vodacom Cup sides etc, who can offer us good preparation for RWC qualifiers. Before April, emphasis will be on S+C with some small camps planned to keep the momentum we built in Namibia.”