By Sport Editor
SOUTH African rugby franchise, Golden Lions is set to establish a rugby academy in Zimbabwe after signing a deal with Athletes Sphere Management.
The Golden Lions is a South African rugby franchise that competes in the world’s biggest Rugby competition, the Super Rugby and are the record winners of the Vodacom Cup in their home country.
The establishment of a rugby academy in Zimbabwe is seen as a way to professionalise the game in the country at a time when talent is being lost to South Africa.
“I am very happy and looking forward to seeing the development of Zimbabwe Rugby through this landmark association with one of the biggest Rugby Unions in World Rugby, instead of our players going to South Africa they can learn and find pathways in Zimbabwe,” said Gerald Sibanda, CEO, Athletes Sphere Management.
Lions once seconded coach Bafana Nhlopo to help the Zimbabwe U20 team when they were preparing for the Junior World Cup qualifiers in 2017.
The academy is expected to provide numerous opportunities even outside the field of play.
“It has always been our intention to grow the footprint of Lions Rugby in the region and with the formation of the Lions Rugby Academy in Zimbabwe, it will bring our aspirations much closer. The opportunities are vast as we embark on a journey to grow Rugby and undertake various projects in the region jointly,” said Neville Jardine – Golden Lions President.
Athletes Sphere Management is also managing the Real Betis football academy in Zimbabwe.
ASM is the brainchild of former rugby international, Gerald Sibanda who now has various interests in rugby, boxing and football.