The Greater Accra Rugby Association (GARA) under the auspices of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) celebrated international women’s day in a grand style in Accra with a festival of Rugby at the Challilo Park in Kotobabi.
Six schools took part in a World Rugby “Get Into Rugby” festival that took the form of Touch Rugby games with Abavanna JHS emerging as the winners on the day.
The schools that joined in the festival included the Islamic Training Institute, Al-Wahid Comprehensive Islamic school, Darul Hijra Isamic School, Kotobabi K 13 JHS, Amoraf Science and Technology School and Abavanna JHS.
People involved from Ghana Rugby included Mr. Abdul-Aziz Issah (President Of GARA), Gifty Kukua Aggrey (General Secretary Of GARA), Amuzuloh Salim (Technical Director GARA), Rafatu Inusah (Executive Members of GARA) and some players from the GARA Rugby Clubs.
Mr. Geoffrey Owusu (Regional Sports Director of Greater Accra) was the guest of honour and he expressed his delight with the organisation and activities of the event. According to him he would like to see the event to be repeated on an annual basis but on a much larger scale.
In addressing the girls he advised them to embrace their involvement with Rugby as the application of the values of Rugby – integrity, passion, teamwork, discipline and respect – will not only help them to perform better in school but will indeed be invaluable character traits that will help them after school.
Mr. Abdul-Aziz Issah, President of GARA, also advised the ladies to work hard and to take Rugby serious if they want to benefit from both the physical and mental benefits that Rugby can offer them. He also said that Ghana Rugby is working hard to create opportunities for the national teams of Ghana to take part in world tournaments that include the Commonwealth Games, the Olympics and indeed the various junior and senior World Rugby tournaments.
“Making it to the Ghana national team, the Ghana Eagles, will in future provide you with great opportunities to expand your horizons and to see the world, but that will require dedication and discipline,” he said.
The World Rugby “Get Into Rugby” programme is part of the World Rugby strategy to grow the Game globally in partnership with the member Regions and Unions. The programme is a central part of the World Rugby initiative to grow Rugby as it rejoined the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and move towards the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
The aim of the programme is to encourage players of all ages to Try, Play and Stay in Rugby. Get Into Rugby will promote the values of the Game and ensure children are encouraged to try Rugby in a safe and progressive environment.
Rafatu Inusha, a GARA Director and Ghana Women National Rugby Team member, said that the girls did not only celebrated the day but were also really happy and passionate about Rugby as sport.
“The development and encouragement of women’s Rugby in general is important and needs much attention. It’s quite unfortunate that some eager schools could not participate in today’s celebration,” Inusha said.
She continued to say, “I think today’s program was great but can be greater if other schools are encouraged to take up Rugby. Women are capable and therefore should be empowered in all aspects.”
According to the President of Ghana Rugby, Mr Herbert Mensah, both youth development by means of the World Rugby “Get Into Rugby” programme and the development of girl and women Rugby are high on the agenda of his administration.
“Rugby is not only the second largest sport in the world after football – it is also probably the only sport that embed invaluable character traits in the youth taking part in the sport both through participation and through the teachings in programmes such as Get Into Rugby,” Mensah said.
Ghana Rugby will also host the Africa Cup 1D – West 1 Africa Rugby tournament between Benin, Ghana and Togo towards the end of April and according to Mensah this tournament will not only showcase Ghana as world class country globally, but it will also be Ghana Rugby’s opportunity to move up the ladder towards Rugby World Cup participation.