The Senegal 15-a-side women’s national team has resumed training, which has created a lot of excitement and enthusiasm among the players.
Rugby Africa spoke to the team captain, Mariama Diallo, to find out what this means to her and her teammates as they gear up to play matches in the coming months.
1. How excited are you that the national team is back at training after such a long time away from the game due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
It is a real pleasure for me to resume training for the national team. It is a great pleasure to be back with my teammates on the field, especially since it is in preparation for the national women’s fifteen-a-side team that is a first in Senegal. We want to be ready to participate in the Rugby Africa Internationals, so we are excited to have this opportunity to improve our conditioning and rugby skills.
2. What type of training have you been doing in the last few months?
I am training to be a match official every week and also I have benefited from a building design training grant thanks to the PROJECT PISCCA (Innovative Projects of Civil Societies and Coalitions of Actors) which I obtained thanks to the Maison Du Rugby and which aims to help young women gain confidence to understand their environment and believe in their potential.
3. When was your last rugby match?
I was quite fortunate to play my last match three weeks ago at a Sevens rugby tournament organised by the Senegalese Rugby Federation. Luckily, we have been back playing sport for quite some time already, which has been very good for the players from a conditioning and playing perspective.
4. How difficult do you think it will be for players to return to international rugby games, especially in terms of the physical aspects of the game?
It will be very difficult for the players to return to their usual level of competition, especially since we have not been able to participate in serious and regular training for a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will take a lot of training, willpower, and commitment to get back to our best.
5. Do you have games soon, and if so when and against which team?
We have a few matches lined up, the first of which are national competitions organized by the Senegalese Rugby Federation. This will be followed by the Rugby Africa internationals, so there are exciting times ahead for the team.
Source: Fédération Sénégalaise de Rugby (FSR)