With the aim of making a positive contribution and developing young rugby players in the Chris Hani District, various stakeholders showed their support at the Queens Rugby Stakeholders Gala Dinner on Friday. The evening came ahead of the one day Queens Rugby Tournament hosted by Breakers, in partnership with Queens Casino and the African Pioneer Group (APG), recently.
Breakers president Mthuthuzeli Zepe said the third annual rugby tournament which took place on Saturday at the Mlungisi stadium involved teams from across the Border. “This year we have done it differently. We have included high school pupils with the aim of growing the tournament. APG is basically the mother body that lead the formation and partnership with Queens Casino. The main purpose is to develop young rugby players in the region so that we can have more young rugby players like Siya Kolisi,” said Zepe
In his speech, APG CEO and Coca Cola South Africa chair, Stephen Dondolo, also representing the main funders of the tournament, pledged their full support and praised the Breakers president and his committee for their commitment. “For the development of black people, the company took a decision that development needs black people who are committed. With that in mind, wherever we are involved in our investments, we make sure that upliftment for black people in all spheres of life is there. It is evident that the tournament has a huge following. It has reached a level where we are all gathered here to make a difference. We need to produce the best players in sport. APG and Queens Casino are still committed to sponsoring this event. We will carry on until we notice that people do not want to support it any more,” he said.
The Eastern Cape Gambling Board, one of the event supporters, was there to promote awareness of responsible gambling to make an impact on the community with the address by compliance and licensing manager, Bonga Jaxa. He said such contributions must be sustainable and should yield positive results. “We come to these platforms to educate people around the dangers of illegal gambling. When we issued a licence to the Queens Casino we advised the institution to make an impact in the community by contributing to sport, art and culture. The gambling board congratulates Queens Casino and APG for honouring their commitment. This tournament should not be confined to Komani, it should extend broadly. The benefits must accrue to all the communities in the region,” said Jaxa
Eastern Cape Sports Confederation treasurer, Phumelele Hlati, said the confederation received grants from the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture to assist certain projects, indicating that rugby was one of the biggest projects. “Out of the R6 million we get from the department, R2 million goes to rugby alone. The confederation is going all out to ensure that certain things are happening. Breakers and the Queens Casino have established synergy between the business people and the sporting fraternity. Without school rugby these teams are going to die.”
Hlati also indicated that Breakers would form part of Super 12 rugby again next year.