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Rugby players protest over 2023 World Cup suspension

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Nigeria Rugby Players on a peaceful Protest yesterday at the National Stadium over suspension by African Rugby from 2023 World Cup qualifier

• Nigeria risks permanent ban today 

Rugby players in Nigeria, under the aegis of Nigeria Rugby Players Union based in the country and abroad, yesterday gathered at the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) building, National Stadium, Lagos, to protest the country’s ban from competing in the forthcoming France 2023 World Cup qualifying series.

Nigeria was suspended from all international competitions by Rugby Africa following the Federal Ministry of Sports dissolution of the board of the Nigerian Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) last week. The ministry’s action, which Rugby Africa termed government intervention, led to the country’s ban from international competitions.

Pleading with the Minister for Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, to reinstate the NRFF board to allow them take part in next month’s World Cup qualifying series, as well as the Women African Championship billed for Burkina Faso.

Addressing journalists in front of the NOC building, national team (Black Stallions) captain, Onoru Jatto, said the peaceful protest was necessitated by the danger that players already in camp training for the next World Cup qualifiers risk missing the competition.

He said: “At the moment, we are in camp training for the African World Cup qualifiers to hold in Burkina Faso next Month. The news came as a shock to all the players as we were already focused on doing well n Burkina Faso.

“When government brings out any policy that the African or world body does not support, the pain is always felt by the players .We are pleading with the minister to please rescind his decision as it affect rugby.”

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