Contingents of Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), otherwise known as the Black Stallions, yesterday departed Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos for Mauritius.
The trip is to enable them participate in the qualifiers in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Ademola Are, NRFF president, said the Stars are expected to lead Nigeria back onto the international rugby stage in Mauritius.
Speaking at a pre-departure briefing at the Lagos Airport, Are said that with the contingents representing Nigeria, the NRFF and the Black Stallions aim to make a strong impact in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers, hoping to secure a place in the prestigious Africa Cup Sevens and further elevate the status of rugby within the country.
NRFF, he further said plans to revive domestic competitions within Nigeria to foster the development of local talent and promote the growth of the game.
The federation, he said, also intends to incorporate Nigerian players based in the UK, the US, or other overseas countries.
To drive its ambition, Are said the NRFF has entered into partnership with a gaming/ lottery / entertainment company – Buga Wins, which will facilitate funding in terms of rugby activity kits and training to grow the sports from primary, secondary and tertiary education levels in Nigeria.
The partnership, he said, would stimulate the growth of rugby sports in Nigeria with a long term projection of setting up an academy and developing grassroots rugby.
He said though many Nigerians were involved in the sports of rugby in Europe, United States and other parts , there is, however, an abundance of talents within Nigeria for players , watchers and viewers.
Charles Fanimoyo, managing director, Buga Win Gaming Company, said the partnership was part of efforts to give back in funding a rugby youth league in Nigeria to blend lifestyle gaintainment.
“This partnership affords us the opportunity to close the gap of funding of some sporting activities in Nigeria. We have realized that sports need extra push from corporate organisations. Our strategy is to empower Nigerians who are interested in sports being offered entertainment with lottery. This robust relationship will drive the development of rugby for grassroots mobilisation through provision of equipment for schools to take part in rugby football”.
He spoke of a 10 year holistic rugby development plan that will be executed on the short, medium and long terms. “Our goal is to promote the game of Rugby and do everything possible to bring our talents to the top of the World. Rugby is a very athletic sport, and we have the talents here in abundance and we want to be a reliable partner to promote the game. We need to form a youth league”.