Springbok Women’s prop Babalwa Latsha has been named among 12 leading women in rugby on the African continent as Rugby Africa unveiled its list of 12 #Unstoppables who have been a beacon of inspiration to women in the game on Monday.
Latsha, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first local 15-a-side rugby player to sign a professional contract when she joined Spanish club SD Eibar Femenino, was the only South African in the group, which features coaches, a board member, referee and club president, among others.
The 26-year-old Latsha has been a pillar of strength in the Springbok Women’s team since making her Test debut on the team’s UK Tour in 2018, and her leadership skills saw her captain the team in 2019 in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup – which doubled up as the 2021 Rugby World Cup Qualifier – and the incoming Tests against Spain and Scotland in the absence of regular captain Nolusindiso Booi, who was injured last season.
A total of 60 women from 19 countries impressed the judges, but in the end only 12 dynamic women made it onto Rugby Africa’s list of #Unstoppables.
“Congratulations to Babalwa for being named as one of the Rugby Africa Unstoppables,” said SA Rugby CEO and Rugby Africa Secretary General, Jurie Roux.
“To be named among 12 leading women in rugby on the entire African continent is nothing short of remarkable, and given Babalwa’s achievements in the last two years, this recognition is well deserved.”
Latsha was thrilled about the achievement and said it was a great honour.
“It’s always a privilege to represent my nation and country in rugby, and being named amongst 12 powerful women in the sport is in itself is very empowering – not only to me but also for young women in Africa,” said Latsha.
“Rugby is rapidly growing on the continent and it is wonderful to be part of that. My message other women in rugby is that the sport is a phenomenal vehicle to change one’s life.
“So put in as much effort and work as you can to make your dreams come true, and enjoy your rugby as much as possible.”
Rugby Africa President, Mr Khaled Babbou, was excited to launch their #Unstoppables campaign and said: “We want to do something very impactful and sustainable for all women in rugby on the continent to get players, fans and sponsors interested in the game.
“Our goal is to uplift the ‘Unstoppables’ and the women in rugby beyond this campaign. We have a long-term vision and commitment.
“Africa is a big rugby market as the latest Nielsen report shows, conducted by World Rugby, and one of the fastest growing markets in the world.
“It is such an untapped market in terms of athletic potential, growth opportunities and market penetration – especially for the women. As the individual stories of the campaign show, there are really strong women coming out of Africa.”
Rugby Africa #Unstoppables:
• Abigail Kawonza (Zimbabwe) – Board member, match official coach and referee
• Babalwa Latsha (South Africa) – Springbok Women’s and international player
• Christel Janet Kotze (Namibia) – Coach and TV producer
• Donatienne Rasoampamonjy (Madagascar) – Coach, coach trainer and club founder
• Fatma El-Kindiy (Botswana) – Communications and project manager
• Ella Paule Guei (Côte d’Ivoire) – Referee
• Fatou Camara Sene (Senegal) – Administrator and communications manager
• Rafatu Inusah (Ghana) – Board member and educator
• Peris Mukoko (Kenya) – Board member, educator and match official
• Samiya Ayikoru (Uganda) – International player
• Sanaa Barakat (Egypt) – Player
• Wejdane Limame (Tunisia) – Citing commissioner and club president
Entire Board of Cricket South Africa steps down
Cricket South Africa (CSA) have confirmed more resignations of the board members, a day after the departure of half a dozen board members.
CSA bid farewell to its acting president, Beresford Williams with five members of its board also stepping down.
After a meeting on Friday, the CSA board and the Member’s Council decided that the board members will step down if that will be to the best interest of the sport.
“After the Members’ Council had deliberated and resolved that in order to best serve the interest of cricket in South Africa, the entire Board should resign – which they did. All Independent and Non-Independent Directors have now resigned,” CSA confirmed in a statement on Twitter.
“The Members’ Council thanks every member who diligently served on the Board and selflessly sacrificed their time for extended and often, overwhelming periods, to assist Cricket South Africa.”
This announcement was made less than 24 hours before a deadline given to CSA by Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
CSA was told by the sports minister to provide reasons why he should not intervene with the problems in the sport.
Such intervention could have resulted in action from the International Cricket Council (ICC), which is against any government interference in the sport.
Independent and non-independent directors are the latest members to resign.
In 2019, Zimbabwe was suspended from international competition, following an intervention from the country’s government, which replaced its cricket board with an interim committee.
Two Zimbabwean Cricketers Test Positive for Covid-19
Regis Chakabva and Timycen Maruma have tested positive for Coronavirus, Zimbabwe Cricket have confirmed.
Both players who are not part of the Zimbabwean team currently touring Pakistan, were room mates for a week in a bio-secure bubble set for players on standby at the ZC Academy House in Harare.
Also, two members of staff providing support services at the same facility tested positive to the coronavirus after screening and tests were done to close contacts of Chakabva and Maruma.
The rest of the Chevrons tested negative before leaving for Pakistan and upon arrival. They are set to undergo another round of coronavirus test at the end of their quarantine period.
Chakabva, Maruma and the two infected backroom staffs are observing a period of self-isolation in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.
“We wish the four a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming them back to work soon,” ZC said in a statement.
“The health and well-being of our players, and staff, remains our highest priority at ZC.
“Therefore, apart from providing support to those infected, and affected, we will continue to adhere to Government and public health guidelines with regards to our facilities and staff and will be taking further steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“In the meantime, ZC has temporarily closed the Academy House for disinfection.”
The Chevrons are scheduled to face Pakistan in three one-day international matches in Rawalpindi.
All three ODIs will be day-night affairs.
Kaizer Chiefs Duo Position Under Threat
Coach of South African Premier League side Kaizer Chiefs, Gavin Hunt says his experienced players Willard Katsande and Bernard Parker are not guaranteed starters in his team anymore as he has impressive young players coming through the ranks.
Hunt made a promise to give playing opportunities to young talents after he was impressed with their performance in their MTN8 quarter-final victory over Maritzburg United.
Hunt has specifically mentioned Katsande and Parker as players who’s position in the team is under threat from the young players.
“These guys [Katsande and Parker] have given some unbelievable service to football. They have won a lot of trophies, they have been here for some time,” Hunt said.
“I understand that people are always looking for something special. But until somebody comes up, like right now with our situation, and puts his hand up and says ‘I am willing.’ Willard and Bernard both know that these young players are good like the young [Njabulo] Bloem in Katsande’s place.
“He had a fantastic game [against Maritzburg United], came on and changed the game. But he has to be on a consistency level of playing. I have to give him opportunities, which I will do.
“And he has to keep on challenging Willard, and Willard has to say, ‘These people are on my case.’ Like in all sports, like in boxing when you get older, somebody is going to be better than you.
“Same as Bernard, he has some young boys up there, the [Lebogang] Lesako, [Keletso] Sifama coming up. These boys are going to be challenging him. But right now I don’t see players being put out of position unless somebody really puts his hand up and says, ‘Right, I’m here.’ Look at Bloem on Sunday.”
Parker played the whole 90mins against Maritzburg, while Katsande was suspended for the game.
Chiefs first game of the new Premier Soccer League season will be against rivals Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday.
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