The President, Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), Kelechukwu Mbagwu, is optimistic that rugby will keep advancing in Nigeria, despite the challenges the federation has faced in recent times.
Mbagwu, who made the remark at the closing ceremony of the Presidential Cup in Lagos, on Monday, enthused over this year’s participation at the competition. He stated that the turnout is good proof that Rugby has entered a new phase of development in the country.
In the final game of the competition staged at the Main bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Barewa Rugby Club of Kano sorely defeated Cowrie Rugby Club of Lagos 13-5, to retain the trophy.
Mbagwu, applauded all the teams that took part in the championship. However, only the best deserved the trophy.
“I will say that the federation is making progress for many reasons; 24 rugby clubs took part in the championship. That may not look much to the South Africans.To us in Nigeria, that is the highest we’ve ever been, twenty four rugby clubs across the nation and for the first time, we have the South-South and South-East league being played.
“It was a great game of rugby; I must say the better and more prepared side won, and it is good for the sport to see that the North is starting to take control once again.”
The National Team Captain, Azeez Ladipo, who is on the books for Cowrie, blamed his team’s loss to inadequate training.
“I think it has to do with our preparations; we did all we could but the guys are already winding down for the year, and most of them are not around. We just had to gather the players around for this game. That is not an excuse though; we just lost to a better-prepared team.”
— Azeez Ladipo
Another player, Nuhu Ibrahim, has called on the federal government and other corporate organisations, to support the plans of the NRFF president in the development of rugby in Nigeria.
“Rugby is growing in Nigeria; we are urging other corporate organisations to support the sport. Our president is trying all his best to ensure that the game develops, but he cannot do it alone.”
— Nunu Ibrahim
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