We want to build an all-inclusive rugby culture, says Mbagwu
Newly elected Nigeria Rugby Football Federation President (NRFF), Kenechukwu Mbagwu has restated his commitment to the development of the sport, promising that his board will take the game to all corners of the country.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday at a media parley to usher in the programme of his board, the CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Managing Director, whose company has been sponsoring the Nigeria Rugby League and national team to major events for over 10 years, said the new board would create an environment that would make rugby a sport of choice for Nigerian youths.
Mbagwu disclosed that the new board would focus on grassroots developmental programmes, creating offices for coaches, players and administrators to ease activities of the federation, as well as ensuring that coaches are trained regularly.
He also assured that the board would be transparent and accountable in all its dealings, adding that the new body is keen to work closely with the government to increase awareness of the game.
“Accountability is one of the biggest concerns we have had in recent time. There is not so much money out there for us to go and get just like that. There are so many causes and only those with the right attitude and structure can assess it.
“Already, we have an accountant that takes care of our money, but we have the power to appoint a chief financial officer, who will take care of the finances. So, it is not the president’s job to handle the money,” he said.
Mbagwu revealed that the NRFF will ensure that the Northern and South West leagues continued to grow, adding that the South East and South South would be given adequate support to improve its standard.
He added: “My vision is to spread rugby in the North, especially in the North East of Borno and other states, which will help spread the gospel of peace in the region. My board would work closely with the state government to achieve this.
“If we can introduce the sport to four schools in Borno, we would have set up a system that will grow the game in the state.“The school rugby programme is a very important aspect of the development of the game and we will work closely with I-Try, if they agree to work with us, to develop a more encompassing model.
“We want to see students taking to rugby as the game of choice while in JSS so that when they get to SSS they would have been in the game so much that they will be in the school team.”
He also declared that national team invitation would be open to every Nigerian rugby player no matter where he is based, adding that the new NRFF would ensure there is no schism between the home-based players and those in the Diaspora.The NRFF president added that his board would revive the women national team, saying their exploits in international championships in the past showed that Nigeria has talents in the female game waiting to be tapped.
Mbagwu disclosed that his board would ensure that Nigeria starts hosting international competitions, saying talks are underway to resolve existing issues with Rugby Africa.