Bulls, Cheetahs leave lasting impressions

Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
NO doubt Kyros Sports on Saturday put up a beautiful and well-organised event during the historic clash of Super Rugby giants Vodacom Bulls and Toyota Cheetahs at the National Sports Stadium in Harare with an estimated 13 000 people attending.

With the Cheetahs emerging 28-10 winners, it was always expected that the Springbok contingent in both teams were not going to play as they are only allowed to play a maximum of 14 games for their franchise sides.

And neither of the two coaches would have wanted to reduce the number of their appearances ahead of the more competitive season having brought such a huge contingent of fringe players and rookies.

Despite the fact that players in the mould of Adriaan Strauss, Handre Pollard, Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel were not part of the playing squad but all the same the standard of play was entertaining given the quality of players that were fielded.

It would have been harsh to expect classic performances given that this was the first game for both sides ahead of the upcoming Super Rugby season and it being a warm-up game but most of the rugby fans who attended agreed it was worth the ticket.

The game did not only attract local interest as some Zimbabweans based in Zambia, South Africa and Botswana and a host of South Africans travelled from the different countries to watch the historic game.

Quite a number for families flew in from South Africa to watch the game, others chattered planes from Down South, while a number of South Africa-based Zimbabwean schoolboys also took time to come and watch the game.

There were also quite a number of South African registered vehicles suggesting that some had driven from Western Province, Gauteng Province and the Free State just to watch the teams they so love.

Thirty-year-old Kyros Sports founder and director Kudakwashe “Kisset” Chirengende made the tour possible after sourcing sponsorship that saw his dream of having Super Rugby teams play in Zimbabwe for the first time ever come true.

“Following the pressures of organising such a huge event it was actually a relief to see that the event was a success. It was clear that we were not going to fill up the stadium due to the limited time and resources we had in marketing the game.

“That rugby fans came from throughout the region in itself shows the potential this event has in growing, it also shows we could have had a bigger crowd especially those from the non-rugby background.

“There are areas we were swamped at the stadium but this was our first event, we have learnt our own lessons and we now know that we need to have a bigger team.

Work start now we are back to the drawing board for the 2016 event,” said the former Zimbabwe youth international.

With Chirengende having learnt lessons from their first huge international event, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union should also have drawn lessons from the Kyros Sports Management team who proved the need to think from outside the box.

Around $200 000 was invested into this game by corporate sponsors with Lafarge Zimbabwe headlining the list as the principal sponsor while Old Mutual chipped in as well to leave lasting memories on the minds of Zimbabwean rugby fans.

While the ZRU have a chief executive in the form of Coleen de Jong, marketing consultant Hugo Ribatika and general manager Sifiso Made in their ranks, it has not been possible for them to get funds for the national teams.

Obviously none of the corporate sponsors would want to be associated with a controversial brand and given the transparent and clean track record Kyros Sports has, there was no need for them to hesitate on Chirengende’s proposal

Given that the Bulls were in the country a week prior to the game, they set up a good platform for the local players and coaches to tap some knowledge from the highly qualified coaches for those who bothered to attend the training clinics they conducted.

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