The Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) has been drawn to take part in the Rugby Afrique Men’s Sevens Tournament that will take place in Kampala Uganda on the 6th and 7th of October 2017.
This tournament serves as the qualifier for the Sevens Rugby World Cup 2018, the Commonwealth Games, and the World Series repechage tournament in Hong Kong.
Ghana Rugby got into this tournament because it qualified as a full member of World Rugby on 10 May 2017 in a record time of less than three years under the administration of Herbert Mensah as President.
Eight other teams automatically qualified for the tournament, namely Uganda, Namibia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal and Botswana. Because Rugby Afrique could not organise a qualifier playoff between the other possible three teams – Mauritius, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana – the executive committee drew in a transparent and unbiased fashion between the three countries.
Ghana came out first, then Mauritius and then Cote d’Ivoire.
According to Herbert Mensah, the President of Ghana Rugby, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity presented to Ghana Rugby.
“I have little doubt that Ghana Rugby is by far the underdog of the ten teams and may have a very slim chance to make the cut in 2017. The fact that we got this chance was not just luck. It took enormous effort and huge amounts of money to get in the position to even be considered,” Mensah said.
Ghana Rugby has already confirmed its participation to Rugby Afrique.
Sevens Rugby has become very popular with Rugby fans due to the fast and furious pace of the format, compared to 15s Rugby. It differs in that only seven players take to the field compared to 15, and a match is played in two halves of seven minutes each compared to 40 minutes in the 15s format of the game.
Sevens Rugby has also been readmitted as Olympics sport since Brazil 2016 and forms part of the Commonwealth Games menu of sports. World Rugby also hosts a Sevens Rugby World Cup as well as the very popular World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series that takes place annually and is being played in ten different countries.
African teams that have performed well in the Sevens Rugby format include South Africa’s Blitzbokke, who won the 2016/17 HSBC Sevens Series, Kenya, Namibia and Uganda.
Kenyan Rugby was transformed by the unexpected and very good performance of the team on the Sevens Rugby circuit. Their success in this format has also ensured an inflow of money for the Kenya Rugby Union through sponsorships.
Herbert Mensah said that Ghana Rugby will pull out all stops to make Ghanaians proud of the Ghana Eagles, the Ghana National Rugby team.
“We have demonstrated that with the combination of passion, good governance and hard work the impossible can be overturned into achievement. Becoming a full member of World Rugby in just three years was but one example of our determination to fly Ghana’s flag high.
“This opportunity to qualify for various Rugby world tournaments is another impossible challenge that we will tackle with everything we have and can muster,” Mensah said.
According to the Ghana Rugby President, the participation of Ghana in the Kampala tournament will once again require substantial financial support.
The Union plans to reach out to government and corporate Ghana to join hands with Ghana Rugby to reap the benefits of being associated with the success story that is in the making.