Play Rugby For Peace In Benghazi, Libya
Mike From Rugby Nation: I received a Twitter message from Abd Alhaq Faiz, organizer of these organization for the purpose of playing rugby in his war torn country. I asked him to write out what his project entails so I could publish it as an article here. I am impressed by his drive and passion for the sport, and in his contribution to helping in any way possible to work towards peace through sports rather than by war. What an inspiration. Keep up the good work Abd and keep us posted on your progress. Abd exemplifies what the heart of rugby is all about. Thank you for your efforts.
The Rugby 2018 Project: Play for Peace in Benghazi
The Aims of the Project:
The duration of the project is 4 years; from 2014 to 2018
The objective of the project is creating age groups to participate in the African Youth Olympics in Algeria which will take place in 2018
The target ages are from 6 to 18 years old and are divided into 3 categories:
♣ The Buds class from 6 to 10 years old.
♣ The Hopefuls class from 10 to 14 years old .
♣ The Juniors class from 14 to 18 years old.
The Beginning of the Project:
The initial stage of the project is divided into three main phases :
-The first phase of the Rugby 2018 Project
The beginning was at the Talents Preparatory School in Benghazi, where training and promotion of the Rugby culture took place for two months during February and March, 2014.
-The second phase of the Rugby 2018 Project
This was on the first of December 2014, with the official start of the project during a conference attended by parents and students who were trained at schools, in the presence of the media and press and many people interested in the game.
-The third phase of the Rugby 2018 Project
The actual start of training at the playing fields designated for training at the rate of biweekly exercise sessions, two hours per session. This began on the 7th of April 2014.
The Activities of the Project:
♣ Workshops :
-Holding workshops to spread awareness of the game and to educate targeted players
-Providing technical training with regards to plans and exercises
-Watching the games with game coaches to increase learning and comprehension of the regulations and all things about the game.
During training for the next three years, tournaments will be created both locally and internationally, to prepare the players, motivate them to compete, create a spirit of victory and to allow them to interact with higher levels of players.
The first tournament was held last July (2014 approximately only five months after the start of the project, and was the first tournament in the history of Rugby in Libya. Four age groups competed:
The Buds class from 6 to 10 years old.
The Hopefuls class from 10 to 14 years old .
The Juniors class from 14 to 18 years old.
The Seniors class from 18 to 35 years old.
More than 120 players participated in this tournament.
The Schools’ League
After the success of the first year, the time schedule began for the preparation for the Schools’ League and also the Areas’ League throughout the city simultaneously with the next Rugby World Cup in May of this current year, 2015. Due to the war going on in Benghazi, we were unable to establish any league because of the closure of schools and universities in the city for the last six months.
Therefore, a new phase of the project has been launched, under the name of (Rugby 2018: Playing for Peace)
It aimed at areas affected by the war and that have a high population density. We have started already and we are in the process of setting up a tournament at the beginning of next March.
The Rugby 2018 Project:
The Rugby 2018 Project was created to solve the problem which the sport of rugby has faced since 1998: a shortage of players and lack of public interaction with the sport of rugby as a result of the government not supporting the game and because rugby culture was not promoted effectively.
Over the period of 16 years (1998 to 2013), the game’s – very slow- evolution included the following:
-The establishment of the Libyan National Team selection camp with one participation in the African Mini-Championships in Egypt in 2010
– Creation of the Technical Committee for the game or all of Libya in 2012
-Holding local tournaments with some external participation on the level of representation of cities such as Tripoli and Benghazi.
-The first official league in 2012 with the participation of eight teams from the cities of Benghazi and Tripoli ( the capital).
-The first Cup in 2012
The Rugby 2018 project was created to increase awareness of the rugby culture clearly in terms of purpose and plan, starting with promoting the game in primary and secondary schools.
But in Libya, in Benghazi in particular, we face the danger of a complete halt to the project due to the ongoing war which has been raging for over 4 months now, and especially as schools and universities in Benghazi are closed; sports clubs and leisure centres are closed too.
Despite the above mentioned conditions, we came back after a break of two months because of the violent war of Benghazi. At this time we created a work group under the name of Crisis Management to work under any circumstances and gave the project a new name ( Rugby 2018 : Playing for Peace). Since the revival of the project, we were joined by over 100 players in only the first 10 days of starting the training project again. .
Our country is now in a state of war, one which is close to becoming a civil war that will divide the country, but we are interested in continuing the project as much as we are interested in focusing on peace, on a new generation without war and without intolerance. We want to focus on a generation that has sportsmanship, that is mature and aware and will be the pride of coming generations.
In Rugby 2018, we are building the men of the future, a promising new generation which will create stability and peace.
Rugby 2018 : our city’s hope for peace.
Abd alhaq Faiz
+21892 294 13 27
Skype / Abdaslhaqfaiz
Benghazi / Libya