Faces of the Pride: Tom Chaloba
- Name: Tom Chaloba
- Role: Founder of Die Hard Rugby, 2017 Bill McLaren Foundation grant recipient for BPF’s Botswana expedition leg; former rugby player for the Zambian national team (15s and 7s)
- Based: Kabwe, Zambia
Since retiring from playing rugby at an elite level, Tom has made it his mission to develop youth rugby in Zambia.
“In 2013, after nine years playing for Zambia’s national 15s and 7s teams, I hung up my boots. But, because of the passion I have for the game, I couldn’t let myself hang up my boots forever, so I ventured into youth rugby as a coach.
At the time, youth rugby was, to a large extent, non-existent in Zambia. Five years later, I’m glad to announce that out of the 16 clubs we have around the country, ten of them now have a youth division – I’m proud to have made a real contribution to this huge achievement.”
Tom has been instrumental in helping Bhubesi Pride Foundation and G4S Zambia to achieve great success in Zambia. He has not only inspired local clubs and schools to become involved in BPF community coaching programs, but he has helped create opportunities for them to continue to play rugby and implement the sport’s values.
“We try as often as possible to organise youth rugby events. So far we have recorded massive success, because the interest from the children, the teachers and the parents has just been overwhelming – and what more can we ask for.”
Tom’s dedication to creating this legacy meant he successfully applied to receive funding to join the Rugby in Africa 2017 (RiA) Botswana expedition leg, thanks to a grant from The Bill McLaren Foundation.
“In Zambia, my role to develop rugby is to oversee operations, but joining the Pride in Botswana as a coach meant I could go back to my roots and focus on what I love – working with children, and inspiring the future of rugby. I’m very thankful to Bhubesi Pride Foundation and The Bill McLaren Foundation for the opportunity to coach in another African country. I wouldn’t trade it for anything at all.”
Tom had been to Botswana three times before with the Zambian national rugby teams, but said his experience as a coach, working with other Pride members from all around the world, broadened his understanding of the way all cultures can connect through rugby.
“When there’s a rugby a rugby ball involved, it doesn’t matter what your background is, it brings us together. We might speak different languages, but the mere fact that rugby is played by the same rules – and guided by shared values – means the game provides a common language we can all share.
In my opinion, rugby is the number one growing sport in the world. I am just glad to be a part of this big crusade to bring rugby to more people.”