Mrs Coralie van den Berg, General Manager Rugby Africa, has announced details of the Africa Rugby Challenge Tournament between Benin, Ghana and Togo that will be hosted by Ghana Rugby in Accra from 30 April to 7 May 2017.
In a foreword to the tournament manual Mr Abdelaziz Bougja, Président de Rugby Afrique, said, “I would like to thank the Ghana Rugby Football Union who is working hard to make this tournament a success and to offer the participating teams good conditions of stay and competition.”
The tournament manual further states that the 2017 Rugby Africa Regional Challenge will be held at four different venues, in four different countries and in two different hemispheres.
Mr Bougja also said that “Rugby Africa is innovative and flexible, concentrating a great deal of effort on its competitions (U20, Bronze Cup, Silver Cup, Gold Cup, Regional Challenges, Men’s Sevens and Women’s Sevens) whilst safeguarding the core values of rugby.”
The 2017 Rugby Africa Regional Challenge West 1 will be held at the Accra Sports Stadium with the participation of teams from Ghana, Benin and Togo. The three other tournaments will take place in Niger, Burundi and Lesotho.
The Challenge Tournament schedule that was announced, is as follows:
Friday 28 April 2017: Arrival team Benin
Saturday 29 April 2017: Technical meeting
Sunday 30 April 2017: Match Ghana vs Benin
Monday 1 May 2017: Arrival team Togo
Tuesday 2 May 2017: Technical meeting
Wednesday 3 May 2017: Match Benin vs Togo
Thursday 4 May 2017: Departure team Benin
Saturday 6 May 2017: Technical meeting
Sunday 7 May 2017: Match Ghana vs Togo
Monday 8 May 2017: Departure team Togo
Officials that will be in charge of the 2017 Rugby Africa Regional Challenge West 1 include: Mr Steve Noi (Tournament Director: GRFU), Mr Alain Koubé (Match Commissioner: Africa Rugby), Mr Guédel N’Diaye (Judicial Officer: Africa Rugby).
Mr Herbert Mensah, President of Ghana Rugby and Chair of the GOC (Ghana Olympic Committee) Media Relations Sub-Committee, said that the hosting of the 2017 Rugby Africa Regional Challenge is a highlight of his administration’s time.
“Ghana Rugby has worked hard with many people contributing selflessly towards its growth and development, and we are proud to be flying Ghana’s flag high by hosting this World and Africa Rugby event, “Mensah said.
The Ghana Rugby Association operating as the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) is a full member of Africa Rugby and an associate member of World Rugby. Rugby is the second biggest sport in the world after football. The Rugby World Cup in 2015 enjoyed a global audience of 120 million plus viewers and more than 6.6 million players across 120 countries participate in rugby on a regular basis.
“I have said it before, and I’m saying it again, ‘Rugby goes well beyond boys and girls having fun with an oval ball. It is about building character based on the values of Integrity, Passion, Teamwork, Discipline and Respect,’” Mensah added.
According to Mensah Africa Rugby has approved Ghana Rugby’s application to become a full member of World Rugby and the outcome of this application will become known after World Rugby’s Council meeting in May this year.
Mensah continued to say, “As with any other sport, development is dependent on the availability of resources and money is probably the most important of the resources requirements. Full membership of World Rugby will give us access to much-needed support that will help to boost our ambitious youth and women Rugby development programmes.”
In a show of fair play, Mensah invited the competing teams to inspect the facilities, including hotel accommodation, before the tournament to ensure that they are satisfied that Ghana is not be playing “dirty tricks” with its opponents.
Mr Ludovic, General Secretary of Togo Rugby who took up the offer, said after the visit to Ghana that they are very satisfied and and that they can’t wait to take on their old foes, Ghana Rugby, on the 7th of May.
In further developments around the 2017 Rugby Africa Regional Challenge West 1, Ghana Rugby recently launched an appeal to all members of the Ghana Rugby Family as well as to its governing bodies, the National Sports Authority and the GOC, to “show their love” and to contribute mildly in cash or in kind to make the tournament a massive success that will fly the flag of Ghana high and proud.
Corporate Ghana has also been invited to reap the benefits of association with Rugby over this period, and companies such as the Gino Brand, Interplast, eVerpure, AMS (Africa Mining Services) and Cyberspace have already taken up the invitation.
Mensah again extended Ghana Rugby’s invitation to all and said, “Your support and contribution towards this international event goes beyond just supporting Rugby. It is really about showing pride as Ghanaian companies and citizens to show the world that Ghana can do it as well if not better than the biggest nations in the world.”