By Otu Nkpoidet
The Nigerian Green Hawk has released a 23-man squad for the 2022 Middle East Africa Championship.
The tournament is set to hold from September 27 to October 2 at the Mansah Sabbah Field, University of Ghana in Legon, Accra.
The tournament will act as part of the qualifying process in the region for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, to be held in France.
In the squad for Nigeria is teenager Rio-Osayomwanbo Christoper Corkill, who recently made his first team debut for St Helens in Super League.
Corkill said “Being chosen for Nigeria means a lot to me, and the chance to represent a side of my family that I would love to learn more about is very exciting,”
“To do my family proud is the priority for me, and representing them here is something special thereby having the opportunity to be the trailblazer for African rugby league is also something very exciting and to make the people of Nigeria proud of our performances and journey would mean a lot to the team.”
On his part, full-back, Gabriel John said, “On being selected to represent Nigeria in the MEA pre-World Cup qualifiers will be an honor and I’ll do all it takes to help the team.”
Furthermore, Michael Ayodeji Ogunwole noted that “It’s an honor to be called up to the national team, especially as we embark on a special journey to be the first African country to make it to the World Cup. This will allow us to show what Africa has to offer on the world stage”
Speaking on the prospect of the team to succeed, Caretaker coach, Bolu Fagborun stated, “I’ve stepped in as caretaker coach and I am excited about the opportunity to play a part again in Nigeria rugby league journey. After winning the last tournament as a player in 2019, am hoping for the same experience”.
Also “We have brought some real talent from the UK, players hungry to make an impact. Rio made SL debut this year, Daniel Okoro first year full time at Hill kr. Tuyouo whose has experience with London
“The local players from Nigeria have great athletic ability and the camp is coming together great. Am really excited to see the Guys in the brand new Canterbury, Ugo Mozie designed jerseys showing a real exciting brand of rugby league”. It’s a great advert for this region to drive the growth of Rugby league.
In the opening round of fixtures, Kenya will face Ghana and Cameroon take on Nigeria.
MEA SQUADS NIGERIA:
Anthony Tuoyo Egodo (Birmingham Mosley RFC), Michael Ayodeji Ogunwole (British Army), Abdullah Balogun (Castleford Tigers), Kalu Shedrack Agwu (Eko Trinity), Daniel Okoro (Hull KR), Jude Abrakson, Emmanuel Onyekwe Ebuk, Julius Godwin, Nuhu Ibrahim, Gabriel John, Issa Omale, Ibrahim Suraju, Bashir Usman, Obi Wilsom (Kano Lions), Azuka Chika, Daniel John, Isah Lawal-Saulawa, Olisa Nwokedi, Kelvin Olisa, Akeem Yusuf (Lagos Haven), Rio-Osayomwanbo Christoper Corkill (St Helens), Obi Wilson Kano Lions