Lagos hosts the second MEA Championship starting tomorrow (2 October) with Nigeria facing Ghana and Cameroon taking on Morocco in a double-header.
Nigeria have finalised their squad with the bulk of players based around the new nine team domestic championship that has just kicked off.
It features nine teams across two conferences, with five in Lagos State – Lagos Broncos, Eko Trinity, Lagos Haven, Lagos Rhinos and Lagos Kings – and four in Kano State – Kano Lions, Kano Gazelles, Zazzau Bulls and Jos Miners – with the round-robin matches scheduled to finish in December. Haven are unbeaten after the opening two rounds in the capital.
NRLA director of rugby, Oluwasegun Benson commented: “Preparations are ongoing and, even in the absence of some of our star names from Australia and England who still had club commitments, we have prepared with the bulk of our players from the competition here, That is incredibly exciting and a true legacy of being able to host this tournament. It opens up many possibilities.”
Nigeria head coach Joe Mbu added: “I am delighted to be part of the Nigeria rugby league set up. The players are excited as they understand that this is a historic moment. Nigeria is full of great talent and I’m really looking forward to witnessing the diversity we have in the team.”
A delegation from the 2021 Rugby League World Cup is setting off to Nigeria today. The team will be delivering a workshop to seven MEA nations, undertaking community visits across Lagos and attending a reception at the British High Commission in partnership with UK Sport.
NIGERIA 22 MAN SQUAD : Boluaji Fagborun (Birkenshaw Bluedogs) Jude Abrackson, Joshua Effiong, Gabriel John, Alex Richard (Kano Gazelles) Samuel Akpabio, Nuhu Ibrahim, (Kano Lions), Shakirudeen Alameen, Nelson Celestine, Habib Isazka, Steven James, (Lagos Broncos) Daniel John, Kiki Stephen, Precious John, Kelvin Azuka, (Lagos Haven) Ezekiel Coker, Sulymon Oyebola, Stephen Akpawan, Malu Williams, (Lagos Kings) Sadiq Adebiyi (London Broncos )Jubril Olajude (Manchester Rangers) Isah Lawal-Saulawa (Northants University)