The President of Ghana Rugby, Mr Herbert Mensah, has applauded the Ghana Rugby Family for embracing the values of Rugby by accepting its “Challenge Tournament Challenge” to raise funds for the upcoming World and Africa Rugby Challenge Tournament involving Benin, Ghana and Togo.
Ghana Rugby will be hosting one of the Africa Rugby Challenge Tournaments that will see Benin, Ghana and Togo compete between 28 April and 6 May 2017 at the Accra Sports Stadium for an opportunity to advance its chances of eventually qualifying for the much coveted Rugby World Cup.
The Challenge Tournament is partly sponsored by Africa Rugby through a grant to cover the accommodation and feeding costs of the visiting nations. According to Mr Mensah there are many other expenses that need to be catered for to host a tournament that is probably more important to Ghana than to Ghana Rugby.
“Rugby is the second biggest sport in the world after football. The Rugby World Cup in 2015 enjoyed a global audience of 120 million plus viewers and more than 6.6 million players across 120 countries participate in rugby on a regular basis. This tournament will have global exposure for Ghana as country and it goes beyond my imagination why our local governing bodies are unable to see the importance of the tournament for the country and why they are dragging their feet to support the international event,” Mensah said.
In an effort to cover some of the gaps in the budget Ghana Rugby embarked on an outreach programme to corporate sponsors.
Mensah said, “I have to show our greatest appreciation to the companies who have at this stage came forward to support minority sport development such as Rugby in Ghana and especially thank last year’s sponsors, Interplast and the Gino brands, for coming forward again this year.”
Other companies who have at this stage made contributions include AMS (Africa Mining Services) and eVerpure as water sponsor.
Herbert Mensah also asked his team to take the funding of the Africa Rugby Challenge Tournament – in the absence of support from government – a step further and to reach out to the Rugby Family in Ghana through the “Challenge Tournament Challenge” and, according to him, he has hope that Ghana Rugby can and will show the world what the adage, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going,” really means.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see Clubs, officials, players and supporters coming forward with contributions ranging from 20 Ghana cedis to 6,000 Ghana cedis. We even had a Kwesé Sport supplier, Cyberspace, coming forward and challenging all other Kwesé Sport suppliers ,” Mensah said.
The fundraising campaign is based on a “Challenge” idea whereby contributors can challenge others to either match or beat their contributions.
Furthermore, Ghana Rugby also reached out to supporters in the Diaspora with a crowdfunding campaign via generosity where people globally can make contributions with credit and debit cards.
The first contributor was the Accra Rugby Club with a US$ 500 donation. According to Mensah, there are about three weeks left to the kick-off of the tournament and he once again appealed to all parties – government, Clubs, Rugby Bodies, players supporters and corporate Ghana, to stand up and be counted.