Botswana Rugby Union (www.BotswanaRugbyUnion.co.bw) will host the CAF women's 7s tournament which features ten African nations. We took a moment to talk to the national team coach Mr Emanuel Masinki.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, my name is Emanuel Masinki but everyone calls me Tiger. I'm 35, grew up in Ramotswa, been a member of UB Rhinos from 2001 to date. Played for all development teams and senior national teams (both 15s and 7s). I am a level 2 coach, World Rugby match official educator.
I have been appointed to coach the National Ladies 7s team, this entails putting together a technical team and a squad of 12 players to compete in the CAR 7s tournament to be played on the 26th and 27th of May 2018 in Gaborone.
How are preparations for the tournament coming along and how is the shape of the team?
We have selected a squad of 24 players because we are thinking beyond this year's competition. Preparations are not where they should, we find ourselves fighting for players with club coaches because we want to see them as regularly as possible while they are busy preparing for the league. We also have a problem of facilities to practice.
The eagerness to learn and improve within the players is there, but the fitness and skill levels are not where they should be but we are working very hard to bring them to the desired levels.
You are no stranger to women's rugby given the fact that you have been coaching a girls school team for a long time now, what do you have on your bucket list?
The core of this team is mostly ladies I coached last year at the 15s national team. I am hoping to develop a strong team to compete in the World Rugby sevens circuit in the future. We want to use this tournament to gauge ourselves against the best in Africa. Then, only then can we set new and fresh targets. If we do things right, we should be in position to play in the next Commonwealth Games.
It's a long time since Vultures competed against other African nations; the last time was World Cup qualifiers in South Africa. Where do you see your team finishing given the experience of your opponents?
We have set down with the ladies and set an achievable goal, we want to get position seven or better out of the 10.
Any last words Coach?
I think as a nation we have proven beyond reasonable doubt that we can play anyone in the world when it comes to sevens, if we do things right and on time. So if given the support and time, my technical team and I will make this ladies team reach heights we have never dreamt of.
Source: Botswana Rugby Union (BRU)