Rugby Africa lifts Nigeria’s suspension from international championships
Rugby Africa held an Executive meeting in Gaborone, Botswana on 25thof May where it lifted the suspension on the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) from participating in any international championship and pledged to help the game grow in the country.
Nigeria was suspended from all international activities following a leadership crisis that trailed last year’s election into the board of the federation. The suspension stopped Nigeria from featuring in some international engagements in 2017.
Rugby Africa’s new stance is not unrelated to the outcome of its investigations into the crisis. Rugby Africa’s top Executive Mr. Khaled Babbou reported that the NRFF General Assembly held in March 2018 was properly constituted and that the new constitution which had been reviewed ahead of time was lawfully adopted by stakeholders.
‘’As far as Rugby Africa is concerned, this means that the NRFF is eligible to participate in the Regional Sevens Prequalifier tournament which will take place in Cote d’Ivoire in September. Further detail will be communicated about this competition from our office’’. Says President of Rugby Africa; Abdelaziz Bougja in the letter written to NRFF President on Monday.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, NRFF President, Kelechukwu Mbagwu commended Rugby Afrique for giving Nigeria the nod to rejoin the international scene. He pledged that his administration would not relent in making rugby more popular in the country.
“I am happy to see that Nigeria is back to the international scene. On assuming office as the president of (NRFF), I stated that it would not take too long for Nigeria to be back in the international scene.”
The journey had not been easy, but I thank God Rugby Afrique understood the need to develop rugby in Nigeria by lifting the ban.
“We are grateful. This recent development would make the NRFF redouble its efforts and keep working hard to reposition the national rugby team (The Black Stallions), the female team, Nigerian domestic clubs and grassroots development programmes,” he said.
“Nigeria would be playing the Niger Republic who are champions of the Super 16 rugby tourney in a friendly game on August. Talks are still ongoing with the Ghana national team for another tune-up game. These are all geared to put the national team on the right track to contend with other teams at the international level.
“Cote d’Ivoire would host the Rugby Africa Championship later this year, but Nigeria is on the waiting list to host if they are not ready. The Northern domestic league would start on 30th June with eight clubs. The South-South league, which is making its debut in Nigeria, would commence soon. My target is to see that rugby is played in all part of the country. This is why we also focus on grooming children in rugby,” Mbagwu declared.
Speaking with the Teams Manager; Mr. Dele Coker. ‘’We can confirm that the match against the Niger Republic will take place in Niamey on the 11th of August. Any prospective player who wishes to represent their country at Senior Men’s, Ladies and Under 17 from within Nigeria or Abroad should complete the online player registration form to register their commitments for July, August, September and October Rugby for Nigeria.’’