Rugby Comes to Gokwe

Despite recent social media blitz labeling Gokwe as one of those backward places in the country, it has defied odds, breaking frontiers in the Zimbabwean rugby realm following to form Gokwe North District Club (GNDC).

Founded in May 2017 by rugby enthusiast and entrepreneur, Maxwell Gwaranapo, GNDC already boasts of more than 30 players drawn from school leavers across the district and a handful of schoolboys.

In an interview with 263Chat, Gwaranapo who played rugby for Glenview High 2 during his school days, says the club’s formation was not his initial intention as he was focused on introducing schoolboy rugby to primary kids but the abundant potential led him to think of setting up a formal rugby team.

“We started in May this year when I visited Gokwe North Nembudziya primarily focusing on introducing rugby to primary schools and managed to get 15 schools playing, but I then discovered that we had guys who played rugby at school level and relocated to the rural areas due to various reasons and are really missing the game.

“At first I thought I will be working with primary schools only but to my surprise got a lot of youth who wanted to play and that’s the reason we came up with the club,” said Gwaranapo.

Gwaranapo says the team has not faced any significant opposition yet and is eager to get a taste of real competition at Provincial and national level, which may come sooner as Midlands teams are already planning to incorporate the side into some of the upcoming rugby tournaments.

Rural development of the sport should be taken seriously, as Gwaranapo says, and empower the rural youths by giving them access to rugby, giving them a chance to develop competitiveness and confidence.

Disappointingly however, Gwaranapo says he has not had any support from any organisation or institution and sacrifices his personal savings to support the initiative.

“We haven’t had any support I used my personal money to buy balls for the schools and the club; We really need help.

“We want to see all schools in the district playing rugby and have more clubs. One thing I loved about rural boys is endurance,” he said.

The success of the club will go a long way in terms of increasing the number of rugby playing clubs from the Midlands as well as giving an opportunity to rural youths who are currently being denied a chance to nature their potential.