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Edo Female Rugby team made history at the 1st national women rugby tournament



The Edo State Female Rugby Team led by Head Coach Ntiense Williams popularly known as “Mr Rugby”  made history over the weekend by winning the 1st National Women’s Rugby Tournament held at the Main Bowl of the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.

The tournament ran from Thursday 15 to Monday 17 July. The ‘Mr Rugby’ assembled team which was supported by assistants coaches Jeremiah Igbuwe and  Emeka Matthew beat all comers at the championship to lift the  trophy .

The championship was sponsored by the Delta State Government, and supported by an array of backers that included Buga Win Sports Betting Company, United Planet Media, SYDA and Africa Sports Connect.

It held under the auspices of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation headed by  Dr Ademola Are.

The Team Edo who looked much smaller in size in comparison to other teams  were compensated with their well drilled techniques, passion, poise and strength of character.


Like dynamite that they are, they took on every team that came their way and defeated them all from different regions of the country.

But what was more interesting was the fact that they did not just beat their opponents, but they also ensured that they played all their games without any opponent scoring a try or a point on their result.

Thus emerging as the first rugby female team to complete a tournament without conceding any try or points in history.

This feat was made possible in all weather which they played in and by all opponents who could only threaten but couldn’t go pass the fortified impenetrable defence wall of the team.

They all played as a unit, less complains on the pitch and serious concentration on their goal, which was to re-establish their supremacy from the last 2020 National Sports Festival where they also won the gold at home.


This time around, it was sweeter as it was in their arch rivals Delta’s home and in front of their aggressive crowd.

Team Edo was well coordinated by infield captain and playmaker Augusta Mene who also was the team kicker.

She ensured that the game flowed smoothly once in possession of the ball and marshalled an impenetrable defence line.

Diminutive attacking centre, Becky Oktikpi was a terror throughout the tournament with her thrilling evasive runs and precise tackles which earned her the MVP and the highest try scorer with 9 trys (Goals) and lifting the trophy and and getting awards.

The Benin City Babes scored 3 un-replied Trys by Becky Oktikpi, Precious Ukwuoma, and Chinaza Abbah, while Playmaker Augusta Mene got in a conversion to make the final score 17 points to nil. (Try = 5 points & conversion = 2 points)


According to the Head Coach Obong Ntiense Williams, “We are so grateful to God for this huge win and historic record setting achievement.

“It is a clear statement to the investment put into all sports in Edo State by the Government of Godwin Obaseki and his sports loving Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu who superintends over the sporting activities as a sportsman himself”.

Said he, “You will remember that Rugby last featured at the 2020 National Sports Festival being hosted by Edo State after a long lay off of 11 years.

“Furthermore, it specially got a waver for the Women Rugby Event which had suffered from the reduction of participating teams due to the COVID -19 pandemic, but was rescued by the action sports loving deputy governor”.

According to the Akwa Ibom State born Rugby Aficionado, “This win, clearly confirms to us of a holistic sports development of the Edo State Sports Commission led by  Yusuf Ali.



The Awards

  • MVP& Highest Try Scorer – Oktikpi Becky (Edo State)


  • Most Promising Player – Godfirst Sampson (Lagos State)
  • Highest Scoring TeamEdo 41 Vs Abia 0
  • Highest Total Points of the Tournament= 151 Points tally.
  • 27 Trys and 8 Conversions
  • No Points Against! – This is a historic record.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigeria Rugby Federation Signs Multi -Year Partnership with Flovale Consulting



Ahead of the kickoff of the Africa Rugby Sevens tournament in Mauritius, the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) ( has taken a significant step in repositioning rugby in the country by signing a three-year partnership deal with Flovale Consulting.

The partnership will enable Flovale Consulting to create a dedicated channel and focus efforts on making rugby one of the most popular sports in Nigeria, while also promoting the development of both body and mind. This collaboration aims to lay a strong foundation for the future growth of Nigerian rugby.

“We are passionate about developing rugby as a government agency responsible for the promotion and development of the game in Nigeria,” said NRFF President Dr. Ademola Are. “This partnership will advance rugby in Nigeria through a unified plan that benefits all levels of the game, from community and professional rugby clubs to unions, regions, commercial partners, and fans. Everyone has a role to play.”

The partnership focuses on growing rugby participation, increasing fan engagement, and supporting players at all stages of their careers.

It reflects the NRFF’s ambitions for development and growth, addressing societal issues and values.

The collaboration will create development programs and age-appropriate training structures, ensuring junior players can develop their skills and passion for rugby in a fun and safe environment.

Volunteers and players will be actively supported to fully enjoy their time in the sport.

“We aim to help players reach their full potential and remain involved in rugby into adulthood, whether playing for unions or clubs. Delivering this strategy with our clubs, schools, partner organizations, and commercial partners will ensure that rugby in Nigeria continues to thrive,” said Opeoluwa Runsewe, CEO of Flovale.

Runsewe added, “As a corporate partner, Flovale Consulting is committed to driving growth and success both locally and globally. With careful planning and innovative strategies, this partnership is set to elevate rugby, foster financial stability, and achieve significant milestones.”

“We are excited about this partnership with Flovale. Collaborations such as this will foster the development of rugby in Nigeria,” concluded Dr. Ademola Are, NRFF President.

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All set for Edo State Schools Rugby Tournament



The fourth edition of the Edo State Schools Rugby Tournament is set to begin on Friday 1st December 2023 at the home of Rugby in Edo State.

According to Obong Ntiense Williams a head coach, Ehibam Griefshare Foundation will be hosting the tournament at  Edo Boys High School, in Benin City from 10am – 4pm.

The Foundation has over the last five years partnered with the Edo State Rugby Association in the Ehibam Schools Rugby Tournament.

According to the initiator Pastor Dupe Irele, “We had a return to the field after the disruption caused by the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020,  As such, to revive the program.

“The Ehibam Griefshare Foundation decided to help provide the basic Rugby Equipment (Rugby Balls) to kick start the program after the pandemic in 2021 and a subsequent tournament last year”.


Said She, “The Rugby Balls Presentation Ceremony was the Foundation’s way of reassuring the future of the program with its continued support and partnership in its activities going forward. The Ehibam Schools Rugby Program was launched in 2018 to encourage the sport of rugby among the young boys and girls from both primary and secondary schools in Edo State”.


Pastor Dupe continued, “The wind behind the sail of the foundation is Late Ehisieme Alonge who was an ardent Rugby Player in the United Kingdom who spent a lot of time nurturing the young children in the beautiful game of Rugby. To this end we look forward to the Ehibam Schools Rugby Invitational Tournament this year on the actual birthday of Late Ehisieme Alonge who passed on in the United Kingdom at the age of 35, on the 10th June 2015”.


The foundation, with the push of the Edo State Head Coach and workaholic Ntiense Williams popularly know as “Mr Rugby” and his hardworking team of Coaches will this year be organising an invitational 4 female and 4 male teams Championship.


We remain keen in our desire to work closely with the Rugby Association and by extension the Edo State Sports Commission in the development of Rugby as a sports for the social and physical promotion of the welfare of students in Edo State.


The vision of Ehibam Griefshare Foundation is to provide a helping hand to those in grief/mourning and help them to a “New Normal” life.


According to Dupe, “In his lifetime, Ehisieme was an ardent Rugby player and devoted his time to training children in the game. It is in fulfilment and continuation of this passion that the Foundation decided, at the persistence of Mr Ntense Williams “Mr Rugby” an ardent lover of the game, to partner with the Edo State Rugby Association in developing the game of Rugby in Schools”.


The Foundation is therefore proud to be associated with this project in memory of our son Ehisieme.


According the Organiser of the event Ntiense Williams, “This tournament has greatly assisted Edo State to be a National Champion in Youth Games Rugby events and in extension the Open Championship as well, like the recently completed National Women Sevens Rugby Tournament which Edo State Female Team won in grand style and made history as the only team to have played and won all games without conceding a defeat or any point against!”


Said he, “We will like to sincerely thank EHIBAM GRIEFSHARE Foundation for keeping faith with the development of School’s Rugby in Edo State.  There will be two floating trophies for the winning teams of both boys & girls team. There will also be Medals for the best 3 teams in both boys & girls categories and there will be two prizes for the MVP and Highest Try Scorers to celebrate the occasion.”




* Emotan College & Asoro / Correctional Staff School (LAUNCHING) – 2018

* Emotan College & Correctional Staff School – 2019



* Idia College & Iyekogba Grammer School – 2022


Here is wishing all of us a great injury free tournament.


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Africa Investment Forum welcomes Rugby Africa President to discuss the business of sport



The newly elected President of Rugby Africa, the continental governing body for rugby in Africa, Mr Herbert Mensah, will discuss the business of sport in a one-to-one fireside chat at the 2023 Africa Investment Forum (AIF) on Thursday, November 9 in Marrakech, Morocco.  

The annual three-day Africa Investment Forum Market Days event will commence on Wednesday November 8 to Friday November 10 under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chain” in Marrakech, Morocco.

Championed by the African Development Bank and seven other founding partners (Africa50, Africa Finance Corporation, Afreximbank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Trade and Development Bank), the Africa Investment Forum is Africa’s investment marketplace to accelerate transactions to close Africa’s investment gaps.

Founded in 2018, the Africa Investment Forum has mobilized nearly $143 billion in investment interest. The event brings together heads of state, business leaders, decision makers and investors to advance critical investment transactions to closure. Previous attendees include H.E Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and H.E Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.

The sports industry in Africa is experiencing rapid growth, with the potential to generate jobs, improve public health, foster social inclusion and drive economic growth. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the industry was valued at $7 billion in 2018 with an expected growth of $12 billion in 2027. Despite the potential, investment across Africa remains limited, with only 1% of startup financing directed towards the sport sector.

Rugby Africa President, Herbert Mensah, continues to emphasize the business potential of rugby across Africa. Since his election, President Mensah has called for a change of mindset from African governments and international organizations to increase investment in rugby across Africa. In June, President Mensah delivered a keynote speech on treating rugby as a lucrative business venture at the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa 2023 event in Marrakech, Morocco.



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