Rwanda Rugby Federation (RRF) could receive full recognition from the International Rugby Board (IRB) before the end of 2015 after 10 years of being an associate member.
RRF which boasts of eight men’s affiliate clubs, a revamped grassroot development programme, a plan to revive women’s rugby and legal status is on course to get the nod from the IRB.
The Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) director of sevens rugby, Richard Omwela told Times Sport that, “Rwanda deserves it now. They have structures, a full time CEO, head coach and these are the things that make people look at Rwanda differently.”
Omwela, a former chairman of the Kenya Rugby Union, who laid the foundation of sevens rugby in Kenya during his term in office emphasized that, “I will make sure where Rwanda is mentioned I will have my hand up saying that they deserve it. The future is bright for Rwandan rugby.”
With IRB status, Rwanda will receive financial assistance and technical support like coaches and referees’ courses among others. The solicitor encouraged RRF not to look at themselves as a small union but rather to concentrate on development of the sport across the country.
He cited countries like Samoa which has an estimated population of 200,000 people and Fiji with an estimated 900,000 people.
Samoa and Fiji are ranked 9th and 12th on the IRB world rankings and have been very successful especially in sevens rugby.
In Africa, Namibia is the highest ranked nation at 22nd while Zimbabwe (27), Kenya (32), Senegal (42), Madagascar (43) and Uganda (57) follow suit.