The Belgian Rugby League Association will celebrate its first full year as a National Governing Body at the end of Mayand its leaders, president Yves-Michael Kazadi and secretary general Zakaria Zoubir, are confident that the sport has every chance to flourish there.
”In the coming weeks we should launch our first domestic games,” says Zoubir, “we are making progress with local sponsors and this first step is a key priority for us at the moment.”
After the first match last year, against the Netherlands, two Belgian players visited Australia to experience high level rugby league, a move that is indicative of the perceived potential in the country.
One of these, Mohamed Belhakdar, also provides a link in the BRLA’s strategic chain.
In order to gain access to high quality facilities, the BRLA has formed partnerships with omnisport clubs such as the respected SMASH Academy in south-east Brussels – where Belhakdar is a senior physical trainer – CENS Academy in the north-east of the capital, as well as forming a new club in North Brussels.
Next week the BRLA is sending four coach tutor candidates to begin their training in Holland as part of the EU Leadership Devolution Project, and will follow that by sending three match official tutors to Delft in the subsequent week. Two of these, Salvatore Liga and Idriss Tiogum, are leaders in the club formation project.
“There is no doubt that the experience our colleagues gained [in Australia] will be beneficial for us in the long run,” continued Zoubir.
On the representative front the BRLA continues to collaborate with its Western European neighbours with fixtures due to be announced.