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ZRU boss to change culture of local rugby

Through the high performance he hopes to implement an academy setup that caters for every path of development.

NEWLY elected Zimbabwe Rugby Union president, Losson Mtongwiza is a man on a mission to change the culture of local rugby for the betterment of the sport.

After dodging a bullet at the May 31 ZRU elective annual general meeting where he edged his predecessor, Aaron Jani by a single point, Mtongwiza began his journey as his own man immediately after the coronation.

He has many plans he wants to implement during his tenure and chief among them is culture change.

"I believe the most important part, which I'd like to say last, is the high performance. In the high performance, I've seen that we've made many mistakes in the last 23 years or so, because we've never been to the World Cup. We've been training specifically for the World Cup, and that is a mistake," Mtongwiza told Standardsport.

"We are being left behind by the likes of Kenya and Uganda, because when we train for the World Cup, they train to try and get their players to the next level. Now, we are so close to South Africa, and I want to sign two professional scientists in South Africa. We are going to be able to work with them, with a few issues, obviously, exchange expertise, player development, coaching development and support."

Through the high performance he hopes to implement an academy setup that caters for every path of development.

"Now, the simple thing is that I want to create two academies, an under-20 and an under-23 academy. These two academies, we want to take 150 players, 50% of the senior players, 25% women, 25% under-20. These players must be given a program, an efficient and fast technology analytics performance during and post-season training and conditioning programmes,

"These programs, we want to make sure that they are detailed and they are so individualistic, so that each person is actually seen to be doing something with their plan and programme on a daily basis. In this case, we are going to put a development, a high-performance manager for the region. So, if you have three hubs, each hub will have a development manager who reports to the development director."

Mtongwiza added that the players will be given opportunities to sign lucrative contracts thereby creating employment.

Having been involved with women's rugby, Mtongwiza wants to also ensure the welfare of female players is prioritised.

"Last year, we developed the gender and equity policy. That policy is just a document at the moment. No one has talked about it," he said.

"It's something that I pushed for when I was acting president, for two months last year. We developed it, so I intend to update that in the constitution to make sure that it's constitutional and it's actually practiced.

"When I complete that in the constitution, I will take the liberty to clean up some of the areas in the constitution."

The ZRU boss is also looking forward to engaging commercial partners to push the ZRU brand forward.

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