By John Mugisha
Earlier this year Rugby Africa announced the new Rugby Africa Cup (RAC). A format that is easier to follow for spectators and more inclusive for teams across the continent.
On November 23, 2019, the elimination stage kicks off the new season with two matches: Côte d’Ivoire vs Rwanda in Abidjan.
Provisional squads of 45 players have been in intensified preparations since September under guidance of head coach Claude Aime Ezoua. The team will be trimmed to 22 players.
Earlier this month, the Silverbacks received a boost from a team of officials including coaches from South Africa, France, England, Scotland and Wales conduct a training season to boost Silverbacks in preparations for the World Cup.
The Rwanda Rugby Federation President Tharcisse Kamanda acknowledges that the team has tremendously improved in terms of standards was ready to battle Ivory Coast.
Between the elimination series, the group rounds and the final tournament, there will be a total of twenty matches spread over up to sixteen different host countries across Africa.
The president of Rugby Africa, Khaled Babbou, is excited to begin the new season: “The Africa Cup 2020 is a completely revised system of competition to bring more value to our federations, the spectators and our partners in the long term.
The strategy for Rugby Africa is to get more countries involved into rugby, member unions’ players to gain more match experience, to raise up our teams to a standard of excellence and ultimately a pool of high-level African athletes that are recognized at an international level.
Current African rankings (Men’s Senior, Rugby Union) used as a basis for the Rugby Africa Cup:
10. Côte d’Ivoire
Elimination stage: November/December 2019 – 4 single matches
23 November: Côte d’Ivoire vs Rwanda in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
23 November: Ghana vs Botswana in Elmina, Ghana
30 November: Senegal vs Mauritius in Dakar, Senegal
1 December: Madagascar vs Nigeria in Antananarivo, Madagascar