Nelson Igbeniweka, Lagos
The Nigerian Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) and The Ghana Rugby Football Union (Ghana Rugby) Presidents, Kelechukwu Mbagwu and Herbert Mensah, have announced the creation of an annual President’s Cup that will be played on a home-and-away basis.
The first President’s Cup will be played this year between two President XV teams of the rugby nations on April 27, 2019 in Accra-Ghana and on May 4 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The 2019 President’s Cup will also form part of the preparations of Ghana and Nigeria for the 2019 Rugby Africa Silver Cup that is scheduled to take place in Nigeria between Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana and Madagascar from 6 June 2019 to 17 June 2019.
According to Kelechukwu Mbagwu, President if the NRFF, ‘Nigeria and Ghana have had a long and exciting history of sports rivalry. It’s been the very best of rivalries, the rivalry between Siblings.
‘Remember those epic Nigeria/Ghana soccer matches-: the Green Eagles against the Black Stars and the Nigeria/Ghana sports festival when Modupe Oshikoya ran against Alice Annan. Those are the thrilling images I see when I think of this new Nigeria/Ghana tussle.
“I am proud and honoured to be amongst the founders of what can only be seen as a traditional coming together of two mighty brothers of whom mother Africa can be justly proud. Ghana have set themselves an extremely high bar with their dynamic and vital President Herbert Mensah leading the way but when we get on the field it will be a different story. Long live the Nigeria/Ghana détente.”
According to Mensah a principle decision was reached between himself and Kelechi Mbagwu in Marrakech-Morocco during the 13th General Assembly of Rugby Africa to kickstart possible wider international cooperation with the President’s Cup.
“Everybody knows that the tournament structure of Rugby Africa falls short to give Rugby nations in Africa enough match exposure to ‘breed’ the next Rugby World Cup participants besides for South Africa and Namibia. Even Rugby Africa has asked Members to seriously look at friendly internationals between regional states,” Mensah said.
Mr Charles Yapo, Rugby Africa Development Manager for the Region, said this is a very good initiative that will strengthen the relationship between these two nations in terms of rugby and allow players to have a little more play time.
“It is also an opportunity to encourage other rugby nations to follow in the footsteps of Ghana and Nigeria. For the 2019 season, Rugby Africa encourages and supports this kind of initiative. Congratulations and Rugby Africa is at your side,” Yapo said