Skolars defeated Jamestown Pirates 18-12 in the inaugural final of the Accra 9s in Legon, Ghana - but only after the replayed decider had gone to golden point extra time. The initial tournament final a week before could not see the sides separated after they were locked at 6 a-piece, despite extra time, until fading light intervened.
Work is continuing throughout Africa to continue the development of rugby league, with formalised competition starting in DR CONGO and GHANA, and a new board in place in CAMEROON.
The next exciting phase of African rugby league development is poised to begin with the impending departure of Sam Leach to Accra next week. The newly-graduated Birmingham university student will take up his role as Rugby League Federation Ghana general manager on a nine-month contract, giving the pioneering West African country directional leadership for the first time.
The RLEF’s Middle East Africa region has reported an encouraging rise in the level of interest in rugby league over the last few months. Remond Safi, MEA regional director, is in contact with a record number of nations who are either actively or seeking to get involved with the sport.
A total of 78 players, many of them new to the sport, took part in the first University Of Ghana rugby league competition which encompassed six halls.
Ghana Rugby League has elected a new Board of Directors, signalling a revamping for the sport in the country, following a high level mission led by RLEF Middle East Africa director Remond Safi, RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer and senior members of UK Sport International.
Following a successful first domestic season, which culminated in a visit to Accra and two-game series for the national side against the touring GB Student Pioneers, Ghana Rugby League is ready for its new campaign.
The centrepiece will be the championship which will see the same six teams - Legon Skolars, Widnes Vikings Bulls, Madina Bulls, Nima Rhinos, Eck Force RL and Kaneshie Rugby League Club – face each other on a home and away basis, meaning each club will play 10 matches.
Two-and-a-half years after the first steps were taken to establish rugby league’s first presence in West Africa, the Ghanaian National Sports Authority has officially recognised the sport.
In a letter dated 13 October, Joe Kpenge, director general of the NSA, confirmed his organisation’s decision to allow Ghana Rugby League to access more facilities, acquire sponsorships and, crucially, open the door for local schools to play against each other, rather than only internally.
The RLEF has awarded Observer status to Ghana Rugby League, giving the sport its first official presence in West Africa.
The formation of GRL was initiated by the RLEF and UK Sport in June 2012 and an Association founded almost two years later by a Board of six Directors.