Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday bid farewell to Orchards Primary School’s under 12 rugby team, whose members are headed to Monaco.

The under 12s are due to participate in the Saint Devote International Rugby Tournament for under 12s on 11 April.

Speaking to the team, who paid him a courtesy call at the Sefako Makgato Presidential Guest House, the President said it was a special day to bid the team farewell.

President Zuma also congratulated the South African Rugby Legends Association for arranging such an important tour. He said that the tour would be a real experience for the team.

“This will be an experience that none of you will forget,” the President told the team ahead of their departure later today.

Echoing the sentiments of Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, the President said the children must aspire to play for the Springboks one day.

The importance of sport was also highlighted at the farewell ceremony.

“Sport is an important aspect in the life of a person, in the life of a community, in the life of a country and in the life of the world. Sport makes things happen,” said the President.

The President took a walk down memory lane, recalling days on Robben Island where he played rugby in the C division.

“It’s a wonderful game but is very robust,” he said, adding that sport widens one’s horizon of knowledge.

The President encouraged the team to shine and represent the country and give their best. He said it was wonderful to see such young talent.

“We will be watching you and supporting you. Go and play and do your best. Don’t have too much anxiety. That’s why I’m here to encourage you to do your best.”

The President said should the team win the tournament, he and Minister Mbalula will come to visit their school.

Minister Mbalula said that talent has brought the team to where it is today, while Orchards Primary School Deputy Principal Selwyn January said the tournament presented a huge opportunity for the school.

“This is a huge opportunity for the school with the President taking time off to see us off,” he said, adding that most of the team had never flown before.

Team member Vutlharhi Khosa expressed his excitement about the tour.

“It will be my first time on a plane. I’m so excited. I will go to Monaco and represent South Africa and do my best. I will not give up, just like my favourite player Bryan Habana who doesn’t give up,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

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