Ghana Rugby on the rise

Ghana Rugby has been scraping together support, sometimes dollar by dollar, to develop the sport, and it’s starting to pay off.

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Ghana Eagles win Africa Bronze Cup (photo via Facebook)

Ghana’s national team won the recent 2018 Rugby Africa Bronze Cup by defeating Mauritius 23 to 17, and in doing so qualified for next year’s Silver Cup.

Not bad for a rugby union that only became a full member of the World Rugby Council in May 2017. Also last year, Ghana Rugby won the Africa Regional Challenge and promotion to the Bronze Cup.

In the Silver Cup, Ghana will face the likes of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Algeria, and Botswana, which means a serious step up in the quality of competition.

Ghana hosted the Bronze Cup in March, which meant fundraising on top of team training. Besides corporate sponsors, people were encouraged to send as little as 5 Ghana cedis _ the equivalent of about $1 USD.

Even players made public pleas for donations in the Bronze Cup buildup. In one video, Jason Dzata urged businesses and fans to chip in: “We want to be able to go there and make Ghana proud.”

The six best African national teams, excluding South Africa, play in the Gold Cup, which is the gateway to the Rugby World Cup. South Africa, one of the best teams in the world, already qualified for the World Cup and doesn’t play in the Gold Cup.

Herbert Mensah, president of the Ghana Rugby Football Union, has been credited with boosting the country’s rugby fortunes. He took over a few years ago and has big plans to grow the game. Rugby Africa recently named Mensah as its ‘Association President of the Year.’

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In Philly, Ghanaian boxer Dogboe wins belt, looks for ‘cheesesteak area’

Five-foot-two boxer Isaac Dogboe of Ghana has big plans.

“The aim is to become a global icon, to be the first pay-per-view mega-superstar to come out of Africa, and already I believe that we are on that road,” Dogboe said shortly after winning the WBO junior featherweight title.

Dogboe captured the belt with an 11th round TKO of Jessie Magdaleno on Saturday night in Philadelphia. The 122-pound Dogboe (19-0, 13 KOs) then asked where he can find the city’s famous cuisine.

“I just want someone to point me to the cheesesteak area. I’m going to have to try it before I leave,” the 23-year-old Accra native told journalists, in video posted by Abrams Boxing and www.15rounds.com.

Dogboe, who moved to London at age 8, overcame a first-round knockdown to punish Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) in the middle and later rounds.

Dogboe was an Olympian for Ghana at the 2012 London Games when he was just 17 years old. His father, Paul Dogboe, is his trainer.

Today he’s a national hero, but Dogboe wasn’t always welcomed with open arms in Ghana. This Boxing News story explains how he had to prove himself. Dogboe said his Ghanaian teammates thought: “‘This British guy is coming here and wants to take our place.'”

Dogboe received congratulatory messages from Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and the legendary Azumah “Zoom Zoom” Nelson.

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Visa scandal for Ghana at Commonwealth Games in Australia

UnknownA huge problem for African sports is mismanagement. Stadiums are neglected. Bills go unpaid. In the end, athletes pay the price.

The latest example is the Ghanaian visa scandal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Dozens of Ghanaians claiming to be journalists tried to enter the country but were stopped by border officials, who noticed these ‘journalists’ didn’t have laptops, audio recorders, notebooks; you know, stuff journalists use.

Even worse, there’s concern that Ghanaian officials may have helped them obtain the visas.

As a result, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has suspended two high-ranking government officials in charge of sports management. In addition, he recalled from the Games several other officials, including the president of the Ghana Olympic Committee, to assist with Ghana’s criminal investigation of the matter.

The president’s action is a good start. Ghana is a rightfully proud country and the scandal is an international disgrace.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games comprises more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 Commonwealth countries and territories. The closing ceremony is Sunday, April 15.

Ghana was still looking for its first medal. In 2014, Ghana won two bronze medals (judo, boxing) at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

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Hand of God? Match in Ghana postponed after church rents stadium

Football may be a religion, but it still takes a back seat to the real thing in Ghana.

Unknown-1A match scheduled for Wednesday (March 28) at Golden City Park in Berekum, Ghana, was postponed because the Church of Pentecost had already rented the facility. Turns out they’re holding a big Easter convention.

Berekum Chelsea FC was due to host the Elmina Sharks in a Ghana Premier League match. The Sharks had already driven eight hours by bus from Elmina north to Berekum.

Ghana Premier League officials have told local media that they don’t oversee the facilities. In other words, ‘don’t blame us.’

But this isn’t the first scheduling problem for the league, which last week changed dates for a match between Accra Hearts of Oak and Ashanti Gold. It was moved back one day to Saturday, March 24, which caused last-minute marketing problems.

Mark Noonan, the managing director of the Accra team, tweeted his displeasure: “With respect, I sincerely believe for club football in Ghana to progress we need to avoid these situations… we must do better for our dedicated players/supporters.”

The start of the season had already been delayed because of court disputes.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino recently said football in Nigeria is “more than” a religion.

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