By Trevor Makonyonga
The 2020 Under 20 Harare rugby league starts on February 1.
This year’s the tournament increased teams from the previous editions.
Games will be played at Old Hararians, Old Georgians, Harare Sports Club, Churchill High School and Belgravia Sports Club.
Speaking to Bustop TV, Harare Rugby league secretary, Shingi Vere said that Paramount Garments were sponsoring the league and that the format of the league had changed.
Vere said, “The Paramount Garments U20 League is set to commence on 1 February 2020. It is a new format, following the discontinuation of the U21 Championship. The competition will see Tier 1 teams drawn into the Premiership, while Tier 2 teams will do battle in Division 1.”
The sponsorship deal is said to be worthy ZWL 250 000 and will be adjusted according to inflation.
Vere also gave an update on the number of teams to participate.
He said, “Teams are still in the process of registering, however, we expect a sixteen team men’s draw and a six team women’s draw. The tournament will run for approx seven rounds, before the top four compete in semi finals, en route to a final to crown the overall champion.”
The Harare league secretary said that he was expecting stiff competition.
“We expect more even contest this year, as we move into a tiered pooling system. The top eight teams from 2019 will line up in the 2020 Paramount Garments U20 League Premiership.
There are a few new entries into the competition, which include Talons Academy (Wise Owl School, Marondera) and FS Raiders (Allan Wilson High School),” said Vere.
With the teams that will be playing in the league, Exide and previous league champions, Pitbulls and in the ladies division newcomers and also Victoria Falls 7s champions FS Raiders look like clear favourites.
Newcomers FS Raiders boys coach, Shelton Chiuswa, said he hoped members of his team would be selected into the national team.
Chiuswa said, “We are in our tier to compete. It does not matter that we are playing in the same tier. We want to contribute to Zimbabwe rugby by giving them options for national team selections. We are neither pushovers nor contenders but competitors.”