Rugby: President optimistic team will pick Olympic ticket

Rugby: President  optimistic team will pick Olympic ticket
July 14 19:08 2023 Print This Article

The President of Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), Ademola Are said that he is optimistic that Nigeria’s men’s rugby national team, the Black Stallions, will pick one of the Olympic qualifying rugby tickets in September.

He stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while speaking on the level of preparedness of the team for the tournament on Friday in Abuja.

He said that considering the efforts and the team spirit exhibited by the team recently, it could pick the Olympic trophy in that category.

“The competition might be very tough but I can tell you If we put our hands together, we can pick one of the two tickets available.

“There’s no team that cannot be beaten and I am very optimistic that we can do it. With good standards of preparation, we should be able to make an impact.

“I am sure we would be the surprised team of the tournament in Zimbabwe just like what happened in Mauritius,” he said.

He said that the team`s performance at the just concluded Rugby Sevens Pre-Olympic Qualifiers in Mauritius, was a testimony.

“Nigeria defeated Ghana 24 -7 in the opening match, beat Burundi 43 -14, and in the last group match had a walked over DR Congo 43-0.

“Nigeria also thrashed Botswana 35-5 in the quarter-final to qualify for the semi-final stage and beat Cote D ‘Ivoire 20-12 but lost 5- 24 to Algeria in the final stage in the pre-qualifier in Mauritius.

“Nigeria will join Uganda, Zimbabwe (host), Burkina Faso, Namibia, Madagascar, Tunisia, Kenya, South Africa, Algeria, and Cote D’Ivoire at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in Sept,” he said.

Are said Nigeria had moved to 11th Position from their previous position of 24th in the latest Rugby Sevens ranking released by Rugby Afrique.

He reiterated the need for grassroots development of the sports in the country, adding that the performance of the team had raised awareness of rugby in the country.

“We have to start having our grassroots sports development programmes and we need to start the league as soon as possible.

“And at  same time, we need more national championships where players will be busy, ” he said.

Winner of the Africa Cup sevens in Zimbabwe holding on Sept. Sept.16 to Sept. 17, will qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

While the second place and third placed teams will progress to the 2024 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament. The top two teams will also qualify for the 2024 Challenger Series.

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