PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has congratulated the South African men’s senior rugby team, the Springboks, for lifting the Rugby World Cup in Paris, France, on Saturday night.
On Saturday, the Springboks defied the odds to beat former world champions and perennial Southern Hemisphere arch-rivals New Zealand 12-11 in a titanic and bone-crunching battle to land their fourth World Cup.
Soon after the match, President Mnangagwa took to X (formerly Twitter), to congratulate his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa for the Springboks’ historic feat.
“Congratulations to President Cyril Ramaphosa and all South Africans for winning the Rugby World Cup. The Springboks put on a magnificent display of determination and strength to win tonight.
Zimbabwe celebrates with you.”
The Springboks became the first team to win the Rugby World Cup four times, despite having missed the first two tournaments in 1987 and 1991, retaining the Webb Ellis Trophy they lifted in Japan four years ago under the captaincy of Siya Kolisi.
They had previously won the title in 1995 and 2007. The back-to-back Rugby World Cup victory sent almost the whole of South Africa into the streets on Saturday night as they celebrated another milestone achievement by their beloved Springboks.
Meanwhile, the African Union Sports Council Region 5 (AUSC Region 5) were yesterday among the first regional sporting organisations to send a huge hug to South Africa.
Rugby is the most popular national sport in South Africa probably followed by cricket and football.
The whole of the Southern African region, who were following the events in Paris with some great interest, also broke into some celebratory mood soon after the final whistle on Saturday night.
And the African Union Sports Council Region 5 yesterday saluted the Springboks for their latest historic achievement.
The African Union Sport Council Region5 (AUSC Region5) is the sports arm of the African Union. The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 is one of the five Regions entrusted with the responsibility to develop sport under the African Union.
Members of the Region comprise of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. And the regional sporting organisation’s chief executive, Stanley Mutoya of Zimbabwe who is based at their headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, was among the first people to give the Springboks a big pat on the back after their latest achievement on Saturday night.
Speaking from Gaborone yesterday, Mutoya expressed delight in the triumph by the Springboks and raising not just the Region 5 flag but the African flag high at the global stage.
“Congratulations to South Africa! The Springboks have done it! Retained the Rugby World Cup! Withstood the unrelenting pressure from the All Blacks! Congratulations South Africa! Africa is the delight of the world!” Mutoya commented.
Mutoya highlighted that Region 5 was impressed and proud of the Springboks for winning their fourth World Cup at the 10th Rugby World Cup in France.
What was even more historic was that the Springboks became the second team to retain the World Cup in two consecutive editions after winning the Cup in Japan in 2019 after beating England.
The All Blacks are the only other team to have won back-to-back Rugby World Cups after beating France in 2011 in the final and beating Australia in 2015.
“The victory by the Springboks is significant to the Region as it inspires and galvanises the entire Region towards excellence. It inspires millions of young people and brings hope to many budding athletes across the sports codes,” Mutoya said.
He went further and mentioned that considering that South Africa began the journey towards the tenth Rugby World Cup in 2018, it confirms the need for long-term athlete development programmes as well as the need to invest in adequate preparations for sustainable success in Sport.
“The Springboks and South Africa have demonstrated that there are no short cuts to sporting excellence. African countries need to pick lessons on the need to invest in adequate preparations and sustainable programmes that ensure that success never comes as a one-time wonder,” Mutoya added.
He congratulated South African Government, SASCOC and South African Rugby Union for being tenacious and resolute in putting in place strategies, systems, structures and resources that have seen Rugby remaining a winning sport and the pride of Africa and the world since 1995.
As a young nation in 1995, the Springboks inspired by the late President Nelson Mandela, defeated the All Blacks in the final at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, sparking a euphoria of celebrations that united Africa at large and South Africa in particular.
South Africa was in the finals again in beating England in 2007 in France and in 2019 in Japan. Mutoya was full of praise to South Africa for the success registered in France in the presence of both the South African and French Presidents.
“Our hearty congratulations go to the Springboks for making us proud. Indeed, the South African strategy of a Winning Nation is paying dividends”, Mutoya said.