THE national women rugby team-the Blackbacks are eager to cause a few hiccups on their maiden appearance in the CAR Women South East 7s tournament which starts today in Gaborone, Botswana.
Rwanda will come up against more experienced sides in South Africa and Uganda but Blackbacks coach Jean Baptista Itanzi remains adamant about his side’s chances.
“We have prepared well for this tournament and we will play to the best of our ability. We are under no pressure whatsoever,” he said.
For Alex Araire, the local rugby federation first vice president, Rwanda’s participation means a lot for the country.
“It is a big step forward for Rwandan rugby,” he said before extending his gratitude towards the Sports Ministry who funded Blackbacks and their male counterparts –the silverbacks with Rwf7m.
Pool A pits South Africa against Zambia, Zimbabwe and Rwanda while Pool B has Uganda, Kenya, Botswana and Madagascar.
Between 2006 and 2008, Uganda finished runners-up to South Africa. The tournament was not held in 2009 and 2010.
The event will serve as a qualifier for the 2012 Africa 7s Championship, which in turn would determine teams that qualify for the 2013 World Cup.
Blackbacks squad:Josee Mushimiyimana, Ernestine Ibemaso, Ancille Mukamuhirwa, Marie Jeanne Iradukunda, Francoise Akimana, Marie Rose Niyonsaba, Alice Akintore, Masha Uwase, Mediatrice Mushimiyimana, Sofia Kanakuze, Alice Uwineza and Agathe Mukandayisenga.Jean de Paix Hategekimana (team Manager), Jean Baptiste Itanzi (coach) and Alphonse Umugire (team doctor)