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ZIMBABWE rugby is set to get an executive seat at the next Confederation of African Rugby annual meeting set for the end of the year.

John Falkenberg, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union president, told The Herald that CAR have asked the country to nominate a representative who will seat on the executive committee.

“As the Zimbabwe Rugby Union, we have been asked to send a representative who will sit on the executive board and I believe that will be a huge achievement for us, not only as Zimbabwe rugby, but for the region as a whole,” said Falkenberg,

However, the ZRU boss said he will not sit on the CAR executive committee saying his sights, at the moment, are on developing the local game.

“I am not going to sit on that board because I would like to see out my final term as the Zimbabwe Rugby president.

“There are quite a number of things I am committed to in our Union and for me this means CAR is out of my targets.

“So this means that we will have a meeting with the rest of the ZRU committee and we will have to decide which one of our two vice-presidents will have to take up the post,” said Falkenberg.

CAR is largely dominated by North and West African Unions that barely play the sport at a more competitive level and there has been a lot of debate on why they should be at the helm of the game.

CAR was officially launched in January 1986 in Tunis with the founding members at the meeting being mostly Francophone countries — Tunisia, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, Seychelles, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Kenya.

Though seven of the 16 of its current full members are from Southern Africa, only South Africa have a permanent seat and they have not done much to help the cause of such African nations such as Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya.

South Africa do not play in African competitions, get automatic tickets to the XVs and Sevens World Cup and are a core member of the International Rugby Board World Sevens Series.

Some of the members on the executive committee include president Abdelaziz Bougja (Morocco), secretary-general, Mervin Green (South Africa), Gifty Ann-Mayers, (Ghana Rugby Union president), Paul Sigombe (Uganda) in charge of development, Coralie Foucras (South Africa) in charge of operations.

However, the decision to offer Zimbabwe a seat will do little to ease tension as Sub-Saharan countries would like to be more involved in the administration of the game on the continent.

Six countries from Southern and Eastern Africa hinted at a possible split from CAR due to alleged lack of transparency in the way the game is governed in Africa.

The rugby unions of Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana even sent an official petition to the IRB. “That means if CAR Exco doesn’t serve the interest of all member Unions equitably, then certain member Unions may be left with no option but consider setting up a viable grouping in where they shall continue furthering the development of the game in their environs giving the children and youth meaningful future in the sport,” read part of the petition.

“Therefore, our future association with CAR is dependent on the holistic consideration of our concerns.”

Source : The Herald