David Phiri Lusaka Challenge Rugby tourney kicks off

Zambia Rugby Football Union

THE 2013 David Phiri Memorial Lusaka Challenge rugby tournament that has attracted two teams from Zimbabwe kicks off this afternoon in the Lusaka Show grounds.
According to Lusaka Rugby Club secretary, Cecilia Tresha, Harare Sports Club and Old Harareans would add spice to the competition which is being defended by Kitwe giants, Diggers Rugby Club.
Tresha explained that the event would have attracted three teams from across the Zambezi River, but Zimbabwe Police pulled out at the last minute, leaving the organisers with the headache of replacing them with a local one at short notice.
“We shall have to decide on which team to take up the void left by Zimbabwe Police and we are yet to decide between Gymkhana and the Red Arrows B side. But apart from that, all is going according to plan. We have hit our budget target,” she said.
The tournament in its second year is being held in honour of the late veteran sports administrator and business guru, David Phiri who died in 2012 after serving as Lusaka Rugby Club president for 40 years.
The David Phiri Lusaka Challenge is the only biggest event held on the international calendar this year following the demise of the Castle international sevens.
She explained that the 16-team competition, rechristened last year from Lusaka Challenge had a budget of K150, 000 which had all been raised with K30,000 dedicated to various prizes for the competition.
The eventual tournament winners will walk home K8,000 richer with the runners-up expected to pocket K6 000 and K5, 000 each is reserved for the losing semi-finalists.
To kick start this year’s tournament, two games would be held this afternoon simultaneously at Lusaka and Red Arrows clubs in the Lusaka Show grounds.
But on Saturday, all games would shift to the Lusaka Rugby Club for the day-long games and grand finale.
Today’s games will see Red Arrows take on Prisons on Arrows’ turf, while the Lusaka rugby pitch will host the game between Nchanga and Gymkhana or Red Arrows B, the replacement for Zimbabwe Police.
Teams making Group A are hosts Lusaka, Roan, Nchanga and Gymkhana or Red Arrows B, while in Group B, Red Arrows, Harare Sports Club, Prisons and Kitwe Playing Fields (KPF) make up Group B.
Group C has Green Eagles, Old Harareans, Ndola Wanderers and Nkwazi with defending champions Diggers leading Group D and joined by Green Buffaloes, Mufulira and Lusaka B.
The top two teams from each group will progress to the quarter-finals, while the bottom two would play the Bowl and Shield respectively.