Back to Africa
24 September 2012
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I’m off on my Rugby travels again, and having done South Africa in 2009, then East and West Africa earlier this year, I am going to North Africa and Morocco later this week. The reason is to support Nigeria in the African qualifying tournament for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow next year.
Nigeria is trying to realise the enormous potential it has to be a major Rugby nation in Africa. It has a huge population at 170 million and their physiology is ideally suited to the game. The qualifying campaign for the 15-a-side World Cup didn’t go so well when they lost to Mauritius and Ivory Coast earlier this year in Botswana, but lessons were learnt and optimism is high for a better performance this weekend in Morocco’s capital, Rabat.
Seven other countries other than Nigeria will be competing: Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They are split into two groups with the top two in each going through to the semis and the two finalists both qualifying for Moscow. I watched the Nigerians play at the Harpenden Sevens recently and they acquitted them selves well. In Morocco the squad is a combination of Nigeria-based and UK-based players and all it will need is a couple of good performances for them to get through to the final.
It is only a short trip, leaving on Thursday and returning on Monday, but I will be posting updates on Twitter and Facebook and I hope to publish at least a couple of articles on my blog while I’m there.