A conversation with coach Jaime Langa


A conversation with coach Jaime Langa

'Sport is a factor in inclusion, equality, participation in social life, acceptance of differences and respect for the rules. Rugby in particular is a game that demands a lot of these factors'

How did Maputo Rugby Club come about and how would you describe BETAR’s involvement in the project?

The Maputo Rugby Club began in September 2012, on the initiative of Tiago Mendonça, Carlos Schmidt Quadros, Filipa Fernandes Thomaz, Isabelinha Sousa, Frederique Hanotier, Louis Leimgruber, Julien Bens, Deytieux Gaetan, Ronald Jordan and then Henrique Caleia Henriques, Pedro Silva and Alexandre Marques, with a view to developing the sport in Mozambique. The idea came about because Tiago Mendonça’s son, Afonso, played rugby in Lisbon and the sport didn’t exist in Maputo. A few friends got together and that gesture was the first step towards the birth of the Maputo Rugby Club and rugby in Mozambique. Then there were internal competitions between schools and some exchanges with the South African Republic. BETAR has been our biggest and best partner. It is the main vector for the development and expansion of rugby in Mozambique and, with its support and that of other partners, we have taken rugby to other provinces and even taken the first steps in international matches and tournaments, such as the tournament with the English team, Belsize Park Rugby Clube, and the Maputo Rugby Clube and Eswatini Chithers Rugby Clube exchange.

You want to form teams, but also people. Tell us about the social aspect.

Sport is a factor in integration, equality, participation in social life, acceptance of differences and respect for the rules. Rugby is a game that demands a lot of these factors. It generates important values such as team spirit, solidarity, tolerance and fair play, contributing to personal development and fulfillment and promoting active citizenship. The main values are Integrity, Respect, Solidarity, Passion and Discipline. We want to train young people, physically and intellectually. More than teaching rugby, we want to create true sportsmen. Rugby is not limited to its physical motor aspect, but has a valuable aspect in the acquisition of ethical values and personal development skills (psychic and personality) and social skills (organizational skills). As a team sport, it emphasizes team play, companionship and friendship, as well as sharing, responsibility, sincerity and loyalty towards peers. Respect for the safety and physical integrity of the opponent is also an essential value, as is respect for the laws of the game, the public and the refereeing team. Victory must be achieved in accordance with the healthiest elements of competition, making the sport an authentic school of life that will be very useful to players in the future.

How does the club helps society? Would you like to share a success story?

Sport is one of the best ways of bringing people together and developing good principles. “Courage, dedication and achievement” are key words that the club has adopted to encourage its players. We have some athletes who are in areas where drug and alcohol abuse are very common, and rugby has been a good refuge for players and coaches. We’ve had good feedback from parents and guardians for what we’ve done in the communities and neighborhoods. The club helps players, coaches and officials, through its partners, to cover the costs of academic training and, in the case of the youngest, has provided tutoring. We have several situations where the club has helped them get on the right track. We had a group of players, for example, who all needed tutoring and the club helped them to attend public schools where the timetables were compatible with training, so they didn’t jeopardize either their sporting or academic progress. They finished 10th grade. Of this group, Abdul Ozias Bila stands out. With all the commitment, effort and support he has had from the club, BETAR and other partners, he is currently in charge of the Khongolote club, is in his third year at the School of Sports Science, is one of the main coordinators of the Mozambican Rugby Federation and is also responsible for referee training. My main concern is that these young people and teenagers apply the values we’ve talked about, both during the game and in their daily lives.

What is your assessment of these 10 years?

The balance is positive. In 10 years, rugby has been played all over Maputo, in the neighborhoods, in public and private schools, and is already being felt in various corners of the country. All the coaches who are in charge of clubs today were Maputo Rugby Club players and coaches and have managed to form clubs to increase competitiveness. Rugby has already taken part in two editions of the National School Sports Games Festival, in Gaza and Manica; it has been integrated into physical education and sports teaching institutions; it took part in the National School Sports Festival, as a demonstration sport; and we hope that Mozambican rugby will take part in competitions recognized by Rugby Afrique, which is the institution that oversees the sport in Africa, and that it can then be affiliated to World Rugby.

This interview is part of Artes & Letras Magazine #145, October 2022.
Partially automatic translation from portuguese: some expressions may differ from their actual meaning.

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