Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
FORMER Sables winger and Harare businessman Aaron Jani believes he will change the fortunes of Zimbabwean rugby and promised to bring corporate confidence to the game.
He is running for the union’s top post and will battle it out against Bulawayo’s Nyararai Sibanda who was the vice-president of the Union.
With the ZRU annual meeting set for Prince Edward School tomorrow, top of the agenda will be to usher in a new leadership, as current president John Falkenberg has indicated he will not seek re-election.
“Being a former player I know the concerns of the players, their training and transport needs, kit, nutrition and allowances and those are some of the things that need to be addressed.
“As a former player, I am excited about the fact that I am having a shot at coming back into mainstream administration.
“My record speaks for itself, my commitment to rugby has been undoubted and I hope that the rugby community rewards me with the great honour of leading Zimbabwean rugby.
“It is not a matter of re-inventing the wheel but there is need to carry on from where the current leadership left.
“Development is key now and given that the Under-20 league has been revived (in Harare) there is need to take it to Mutare, Masvingo, Midlands and other provinces.
“But it is the cost of playing that is restricting or limiting (club) rugby activity in the country and there is need to mobilise resources and get two buses so that the travelling teams are cushioned.
“This, I promise, we can achieve, but not in a day,” said Jani.
Jani was part of the ZRU board in 2009 coming in as vice-president to Sithembilenkosini “Themba” Sibanda.
He believes he will spread the success he had with the Under-20 Young Sables — both financially and on the field of play — to all the national teams.
“With my experience as a rugby administrator I can make a difference because I believe things can be done differently so as to make the sport much better.
“I have always believed that I can enhance the rugby sponsorship situation because for the past few years the economy has not been good and rugby was not spared either as the standard of the game went down but that can be turned over.”
Under his leadership the Under-20 side qualified for the Junior World Rugby Trophy three times in succession from 2010 to 2012.
They also had sound sponsorship that saw them playing pre-tournament friendly games in France and South Africa.
“Success of a brand is determined by the quality of a committee running the respective brand. So there is need to head hunt for persons with different and needed qualifications.
“I am not saying that the other committees were not doing a good job but there is need for qualified persons for us to try and replicate what the Under-20 achieved.”
If Jani is elected into office, the former Sables winger would become the first ex-player to lead the Union since the turn of the millennium.
Despite the challenges faced by the ZRU, Jani feels the current board have done their best.
“A lot has been done in trying to improve the game but I believe it’s now time to get the numbers up and have as many participants as possible.