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Babbou explains decision to host Rugby Africa Cup in France

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Rugby Africa Khaled Babbou at the media launch of 2022 tournaments in Kampala this week.

There were mixed reactions when Rugby Africa (RA) last year announced that the Rugby Africa Cup 2022, a World Cup 2023 qualification tournament for the continent will be hosted in France.

The tournament that was launched in Kampala this week alongside other three events will be played in Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence, France from 1 July to 10 July with the four quarterfinals as determined at the conclusion of the Rugby Africa Cup 2021.

In a statement released last year Rugby Africa said that; “following a call for applications launched to all African member federations of World Rugby as well as to France 2023, the Rugby Africa commissions have reviewed the submissions in the light of very precise criteria to evaluate the offers and enable Rugby Africa’s Executive Committee to choose the host country of the Rugby Africa Cup 2022. Through a voting process, the candidacy of France 2023 was eventually selected,” read the statement from Rugby Africa.

During the launch of this year’s major continental tournaments in Kampala, Uganda this week, RA President Khaled Babbou attempted to explain the decision to host Rugby Africa Cup in France but the local media wasn’t satisfied.

“It’s an opportunity for us to learn,” Babbou told local media adding that; “we chose France as hosts because of experience, advanced technology and France his the biggest economy in the world.”

Babbou added that all players are happy to play in France and; “for us it’s important to know that the players and coaches are happy to play in France.”

Rugby Africa Cup participating teams are; Namibia, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Algeria.

The tournament doubles as a qualifier for the Rugby World Cup 2023 that will be played in France. One team will qualify directly.

The other three tournaments that were launched this week are; U-20 Barthés Trophy that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 9 to 17 April 2022, Africa Men’s 7s that will be held at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds in Kampala, Uganda from 23 to 24 April and the Africa Women’s 7s that will be held in Tunisia from 29 to 30 April.

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