Rugby Africa

After years of being inexplicably exiled to Europe, the prestigious Rugby Africa Cup is finally returning to its rightful home on African soil, as Rugby Africa, the sport’s governing body on the continent, has awarded the hosting rights for the 2024 and 2025 editions to Uganda.

This move represents a seismic shift away from the neo-colonial mindset that had pervaded Rugby Africa’s previous administration, which had controversially staged the 2022 event in the French town of Aix-en-Provence despite bids from African countries.

The 2024 Rugby Africa Cup from July 18–29 will feature the continent’s top 8 national teams battling for supremacy in Kampala. Participating nations include Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, and Algeria.

For the 2022 edition, a controversial decision was made to stage the flagship African tournament in the small French town of Aix-en-Provence, thousands of miles away from the continent it was meant to represent.

The previous administration, led by Khalid Babou’s French-controlled executive committee, supported by Executive committee members like Elvis Tano from Ivory Coast, Rolande Boro from Burkina Faso, Herman Mbonyo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and others, had voted to host the 2022 tournament in France, despite Kenya’s bid to host the event in Africa, which was rejected in favour of France.

The current Rugby Africa leadership, headed by Herbert Mensah, has made decolonizing the sport’s governance and restoring African self-determination a top priority.

Awarding the next two tournaments to Uganda is a powerful statement of that mission, firmly re-centering the event within the cultural and geographical context to which it belongs.

No longer will the eight participating African nations be treated as visitors in their own continental competition.

From July 18–29, 2024, rugby heavyweights like Namibia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe will descend upon the Ugandan capital of Kampala to battle for supremacy on an African host’s hallowed grounds.

The 2025 edition will also take place in Kampala, serving as an appetiser for that year’s Rugby World Cup in England. For the first time in over two decades, Africa’s elite rugby players will be able to immerse themselves fully in the authentic spirit of the tournament without being displaced overseas.

Beyond just restoring cultural pride, Uganda’s successful bid to host the 2024 and 2025 Rugby Africa Cups could be a catalyst for significant economic opportunities through tourism and investment.

The ability to pull off a logistical undertaking of this international scale will signal to the world that the “Pearl of Africa” is open for business and capable of hosting other major events.

The long-overdue decision to bring Africa’s premier rugby tournament back to its ancestral homeland marks a rebuke of the outdated narratives that previously denied African nations such privileges.

It dismisses the entrenched biases questioning infrastructure capabilities and organizational aptitude on the continent.

Source: Ghana/ Yamoah