Domestic rugby league in Nigeria is set to kick off this weekend with the opening southern conference fixtures. Four clubs will play in each of the northern and southern divisions, with Lagos Haven and Kano Lions set to defend their respective titles.
The opening weekend will see Haven face local rivals Lagos Rhinos, whilst R2 Finesse RL entertain Eko Trinity. In the women’s ranks, the Lagos Haven female team will begin their season against Eko Trinity.
The initial north fixtures will see Kano Lions face Jos Miners, whilst Zazzau Bulls take on Kano Gazelles.
Chair of the Nigeria Rugby League Association, Abiodun Olawale Cole, noted: “I would like to thank all the executives, members and fans of NRLA for getting us this far and looking forward to a new season.”
NRLA vice-chair and general manager, Ade Adebisi, added: “It’s great to see female teams getting expanded this year across the conferences. We are in for a hard-fought men’s competition with many players far more experienced than in the maiden season in 2019 and desperate to get back to playing, especially come the MEA tournament for the national side.”
The Middle East and Africa Championship to be hosted by Ghana, the Nigeria Green Hawks the defending champions. The tournament will commence on Thursday 27th September with the finals on Sunday 2 October 2022.
In other news, the board of European Rugby League has appointed Richard Coleman in an associate capacity until the 2022 AGM in October, where he will be proposed to the membership as an independent director. Coleman will play a pivotal role in the strategic aim of growing the ERL’s commercial revenue.
CEO of Mayfield Sports Management, he is a highly experienced sports marketing and business advisor having personally brokered over $100m of sponsorships in Formula 1, World Cycling, cricket, soccer, snooker and other motorsports and has almost two decades of experience in a range of industries working with leading global brands and rights holders.
“I’m keenly anticipating proposing Richard to the membership later in the year and very grateful to him for agreeing to start immersing himself in the organisation ahead of that,” commented ERL chair Dean Andrew, OBE. “Richard has a very impressive CV and we are looking forward to him sharing his experience with European Rugby League.”
Coleman added: “I am looking forward to working with the European Rugby League board and its executive. It is clearly in a great position to capitalise on opportunities and with a bright future.”