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Following the lifting of suspension by Rugby Africa, Nigeria will  play Niger Republic who are champions of the Super 16 rugby tournament in a friendly game on August 11.

The Nigeria Rugby Football Federation said on Friday, that the match was made possible by the lifting of the suspension.

It added that Rugby Africa held an Executive meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, on May 25, and lifted the suspension on the NRFF from participating in any international championship.

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 lifting of the suspension means that the NRFF is eligible to participate in the Regional Sevens pre-qualifier tournament which will take place in Cote d’Ivoire in September.

Kelechukwu Mbagwu, NRFF’s President, commended Rugby Africa for giving Nigeria the nod to actively participate in the body’s programmes once again.

Mbagwu said: “Nigeria will be playing Niger Republic who are champions of the Super 16 rugby tournament in a friendly game in August.

“Talks are still ongoing with the Ghana national team for another tune-up game. “These are all geared to put the national team on the right track to contend with other teams at the international level.”

He pledged that his administration would not relent in making rugby more popular in the country.

He said: “I am happy to see that Nigeria is back on the international scene.

“On assuming office as the president of NRFF, I promised that it will not take too long for Nigeria to be back in the international scene.

“The journey has not been easy, but I thank God that Rugby Africa understood the need to develop rugby in Nigeria by lifting the ban.

“We are grateful. This recent development will make the NRFF to redouble its efforts and keep working hard to reposition the national rugby team, The Black Stallions.

“The female team, Nigeria’s domestic clubs and grassroots development programmes.’’ He said: “Nigeria is on the waiting list to host Rugby Africa Regional Championship later this year, if Cote d’Ivoire are unable to host it.

“Cote d’Ivoire will host the Rugby Africa Regional Championship later this year, but Nigeria is on the waiting list to host if they are not ready.’’

He added that the different domestic leagues would commence on June 30. Mbagwu said: “The Northern domestic league will start on June 30 with eight clubs, the South-South league, which is making its debut in Nigeria, will commence soon.

“My target is to see that rugby is played in all parts of the country, this is why we also focus on grooming children in rugby.’’

The Eagle Online

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