Rwanda national golf team has intensified preparations for this year’s 19th edition of the East African Golf Challenge.
The five-day tournament, which is scheduled to run from August 22 - 26 at the 18-hole Gymkhana Golf Club in Dar es Salaam has attracted six countries namely; Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and the hosts Tanzania.
However, the preparations are being hampered by a shortage of training equipment, according to the Kigali Golf Club captain Dr. Davis Kashaka. Kashaka, who also doubles as the president of the East African Golf Union, made the revelation during a press briefing held on Wednesday at the Kigali Golf Club in Nyarutarama.
“The team is training well although we have issues with equipment, but we shall do with what we have,” he admitted as he announced the provisional 16-man team that will be reduced to 12 on Thursday (today) before the final eight traveling to Dar es Salaam are picked.
Kashaka disclosed that the team will concentrate more on foursome because, “That is where we have always performed poorly in previous editions. We don’t have many problems with the singles.”
The team, under the tutelage of former national team captain Jules Mutesa, now a professional player will include players as young as 16 like Celestin Nsanzuwera and Marvin Semwaga, while the oldest will be Leonard Nkurunziza, 32, to make a team average of 20 years.
Kashaka says their target is to have a team with an average age of 16 years at next year’s edition, which will be held either in Burundi or Kenya depending on the former’s preparedness to host.
Rwanda has made14 appearances and hosted the annual event three times in 2005, 2010 and 2015. The best performance for Rwanda was finishing as first runners up in 2005, while last year, the team finished in a disappointing fifth place in Ethiopia.
“We believe we can register better results this year because we’ve mastered our game and also we’ve prepared better,” noted Kashaka.
Each of the participating teams will have eight players and two officials.
Teams have until July 14 to confirm their lists—only Rwanda is yet to confirm but Kashaka says they will do that not later than Thursday (today).
So far, the team has secured the uniform courtesy of GPO Partners, whose consulting partner, Benjamin Rufagari is the team’s chief fundraiser. However, the team is yet to get air tickets and other accessories.