Despite losing the Silver Cup finale 31-00 to Algeria, Zambia too will be taking part in the Gold Cup next year.
Originally, the Gold Cup featured 6 teams with the winner of the Silver Cup replacing the last nation on the Gold Cup roster. The increase of teams means Morocco, despite being the last in the Gold Cup this year, maintian top tier status and are joined by Zambia and Algeria
“I have good news for Zambia — they have also qualified for the Gold Cup as we are expanding from six teams to eight,” revealed Rugby Africa president Abdelaziz Bougja after the Silver Cup finale between Algeria and Zambia.
According to Rugby Africa president Mr Abdelaziz, the decision to increase the Gold Cup teams from 6 to 8 was arrived at while in the meeting held in Tunisia to increase the number of teams. “As you know, Zambia beat Botswana and Madagascar in the Silver Cup South whilst Algeria beat Ivory Coast and Senegal in the Silver Cup North, so in this regard is was not a difficult decision to make.”
Meanwhile, Director of Sport at the Ministry of Youth & Sport Mr Gib Muyaule expressed delight at the news of Zambia’s inclusion to compete against the elite of Africa. “The news by Africa Rugby comes as an opportunity for Zambia to feature on a much larger platform and we know it will be tough but we hope our technical bench will put measures in place to drill the team to expected standards.”
Speaking at the same function, MOPANI COPPER MINES Chief Operations Officer Deon van de Mersh said his company shall continue working with the Zambia Rugby Union to ensure progress. “We are very pleased with the announcement/ revelation that Zambia will participate in the Continent’s show piece and we pledge our comapany’s commitment to the partnership with the Rugby Union to ensure the team meets all it’s game fixtures”, he said.
Algeria, unranked by World Rugby, alongside Zambia will join the Gold Cup regulars and African powerhouses, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Morocco and holders, Namibia.