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Rugby Africa lifts Nigeria’s suspension from international championships

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Rugby Africa has 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 in to 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, as well as the AGM meeting held on March 3, 2018, which gave all stakeholders within and outside the country the chance to chart a new path for rugby in Nigeria.

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 to redouble it 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.

Mbagwu added that Nigeria would be participating in an African rugby championship in Cote d’Ivoire later this year.

“Nigeria would be playing Niger Republic who are champions of the Super 16 rugby tourney in a friendly game in August. Talks are still on going 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.


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