The Presidents of Ghana Rugby, Ivory Coast Rugby and Nigeria Rugby have all expressed their excitement about the tri-nations men’s 15s tournament between the three West African nations that is scheduled to kick off this weekend in Elmina-Ghana.
In a message from Lagos the President of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), Mr Kelechukwu Mbagwu, said, “The inaugural West African Rugby Series taking place in Ghana next week fills us with excitement and pride. It’s an event that must be sustained going forward bringing together the best rugby playing nations in the subcontinent on the platform of our beloved sport.
Kudos to my brother Herbert Mensah, the President of Ghana Rugby, and his effective team for planning and setting this up. We look forward to a week of exciting rugby and of course a victory for the Nigerian team the Black Stallions.”
Mr Herbert Mensah, President and Board Chairman of Ghana Rugby, said in a voice note from London that it has always been his dream for West African nations to come together and show that they can be the best at anything.
“By setting up what we pioneered some three years ago in Ghana by coming together and setting up a super league or championship is the only way that we can start to edge closer to what they have in Southern and Eastern Africa,” Mensah said.
He continued to say that there can not be any greater giants than his brother Mr Kelechukwu Mbagwu in Nigeria and Dr Elvis Tano in the Ivory Coast who is also the Treasurer of Rugby Africa to get together to play regularly and hopefully more than once a year.
Mensah also expressed the hope that Senegal and their legendary President Mr Guédel Ndiaye will soon join the three nations in the quest to develop Rugby in the sub-continent of West Africa.
The 2019 Ghana Rugby Men’s XVs Invitationals will kick off this Sunday 28 July 2019 at 11 am on the Nduom Sports Stadium pitch with Ghana facing the Ivory Coast.
In their previous encounter on 11th of May 2019 Ivory Coast beat the Ghana Eagles narrowly by one point (23-22) in an exciting nailbiting match.
On Wednesday 31 July 2019 it will be a clash between Nigeria and Ivory Coast, followed by the final match on Saturday 3 August 2019 between Ghana and Nigeria.
The match officials supplied by Rugby Africa are:
Match Commissioner: Mr Charles Yapo, Regional Development Officer for West Africa
Match Doctor: Dr Baillet, Ivory Coast
Match Referee: Mr Mathias Bvepfepfe, Zimbabwe
The Assistant Referees will be Jeffrey Chiwanda (Zimbabwe) and Ishmael Adamah (Ghana).
A planned sevens rugby tournament, that would have included eight West African nations with both men’s and women’s teams, was put on hold due to budget constraints.
The Ghana National Rugby Team, the Ghana Eagles will also take part in both the men’s and women’s Rugby Africa Sevens Tournaments in October (women in Tunisia) and in November (men in South Africa). These tournaments also serve as qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
On 23 November 2019, the Ghana Men’s XVs Eagles will play an elimination match against Botswana in Ghana as part of a newly formulated Rugby Africa Cup where the top 16 Rugby nations will compete for top honours in an annual tournament that is replacing the previous Gold, Silver and Bronze Cups.
Mensah said that he has to again express his gratitude to corporate sponsors such as the Panafrican Equipment Group, Interplast, the Gino brands and Sunda International and Societe Generale for their continued support towards the development of Rugby in Ghana.
“I say again, sport is big business and big business requires funding. Without the support of these special Friends of Ghana Rugby, we would not have been able to bring the excitement of the 2019 Ghana Rugby Invitationals to Ghana. We thank you and we hope that other corporate entities will follow your example,” Mensah said.