Mr Herbert Mensah, President and Board Chairman of Ghana Rugby, has sent a congratulatory letter to the President of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), Mr Kelechukwu Mbagwu, following the lifting of the suspension on the Federation by Rugby Africa.
Mensah said, “I would like to congratulate you personally and on behalf of Ghana Rugby on the lifting of the suspension and we welcome the NRFF back to participating in international tournaments and matches.
“Ghana Rugby and the NRFF have a long history of building the Game in the sub-region, and we are excited to join hands with you and the NRFF to pick up on that history and positively move forward to continue building character in West Africa, in Africa and the greater world of Rugby.
“May your return to the international Rugby scene write a story of great achievements that will bring joy to the larger Rugby Family.”
Although Rugby Africa has not officially announced the lifting of the sanction, The Guardian in Nigerian disclosed the decision by Rugby Africa on Wednesday 30 May 2018.
According to The Guardian, 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.
The Guardian further reported comments from the NRFF President as follows, “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.
The NRFF was founded in 1998, five years before Ghana Rugby, and became an affiliate of World Rugby in 2001.
Nigeria last played In the 2016 Africa Cup – Division 1C when it beat Mauritius 31 to 12 but was beaten by Morocco 53 to 10.
According to official statistics from World Rugby, Ghana and Nigeria have not faced each other in a Men’s 15s competition since 2013. With Ghana Rugby’s promotion to the Rugby Africa Silver Cup, it would take some time before the Ghana Eagles and Nigeria Black Stallions face each other in an official Rugby Africa competition.