Rugby, a sport traditionally associated with countries like England, New Zealand, South Africa, and Kenya has been steadily gaining popularity in unexpected corners of the world.
In Tanzania, Tanzania Rugby Union (TRU) has set ambitious goals to develop and promote the sport. Scrummage Africa had an interview with the TRU chairman Jacob Jona where he outlined the long-term vision for rugby in Tanzania, emphasizing the importance of international collaborations and outlining the measures being taken to achieve these goals.
“The long-term goals for the TRU are clear: to establish Tanzania as a competitive rugby nation with a regional reach and become trendsetters both on and off the pitch,” he said.
Jonas vision with TRU encompasses not only the development of a strong national team but also the cultivation of a vibrant rugby culture within the country.
When asked why TRU frequently organizes friendlies with foreign countries, the soft spoken chairman explained that they embrace opportunities to learn from others.
“The TRU believes in the value of sharing experiences and expertise with rugby-playing nations worldwide,Our arms are wide open to anyone or any country that wants to come and share their experience with us; hatubagui” he added.
Looking to the future of Tanzanian rugby, the TRU aspires to position Tanzania as the next hub of rugby in Africa and the world. This vision is not just a lofty ambition but a well-thought-out plan with concrete steps to achieve it.
Jonas says TRU aims to establish a network of 22 clubs by the end of 2026, with a particular focus on developing age-grade teams and a strong women’s senior team.
“The intention behind this strategic approach is to create a sustainable pipeline that can feed into the national team, fostering talent and ensuring long-term success.”
To date, the TRU has made significant progress in its mission to grow rugby in Tanzania. Currently, they have 10 men’s clubs and 4 women’s clubs, providing a foundation for the sport to flourish.
The TRU recognizes the importance of grassroots development and aims to enhance participation at all levels of the game, from schools and communities to elite competitions. By investing in youth programs and supporting women’s rugby, they are fostering a diverse and inclusive rugby culture that can propel Tanzania to new heights.
The TRU chairman highlighted that they have already achieved 70% of their targets. A successful training camp for national xv team combined with the growth of clubs and increased participation, demonstrates the progress being made. The TRU remains focused on continuous improvement and aims to build on their successes to further elevate Tanzanian rugby.