Nigeria’s rugby national team, the Black Stallions will look to scale the final hurdle in their bid to secure a place at the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 when they take on Madagascar in the final elimination match of the qualifiers later today in Antananarivo.
A 22-man squad led by head coach Bronson Weir arrived Antananarivo on Saturday for the encounter which is scheduled for the Mahamasima Stadium and will be broadcast on Rugby Africa’s Facebook page by 1pm Nigerian time.
Victory for the Black Stallions will not only ensure a spot at next year’s Rugby Africa Cup but will also ensure Nigeria retains a chance of qualifying for the 2023 Rugby World Cup with the champions of the Africa Cup qualifying automatically for the World Cup.
Although Madagascar are at home and at 51st in the world, are ranked 19 places above Nigeria, Stallions head coach Weir says his team will do everything necessary to achieve the result they need.
“The boys have worked hard all through training in Kano and Lagos. Madagascar play a unique band of XV’s Rugby. We will concentrate on our game and do what we have to do to get the result. We look forward to seeing what the team can produce on Sunday,” Weir said.
Madagascar head coach Philippe Canitrot, however, contends that his side are prepared for the Nigerian challenge.
“A new adventure starts. All the teams are dreaming of the World Cup. My team is prepared for this match with concentration and humbleness. We are ready for the challenge Nigeria will pose to us and we are poised for the game,’’ he said.
Black Stallions Squad
Forwards: Godwin Otoro (Italy(Captain)); David Oyekanmi (Racing); Praise Asiedu (Australia); Sunday Bassey (Cowrie) Ricky Nwagbara (South Africa); Ibrahim Suraj (Barewa); Samuel Ekpo (Cowrie); Obi Wilson (Barewa); Alex Onome Richard (Barewa); John Kurah (Racing); Olatunde Sulaiman (Cowrie); Jude Abrakson (Barewa); Emmanuel Chukwudi (Abia Buffaloes)
Backs: Azeez Ladipo (Cowrie, Vice Captain); Nuhu Ibrahim (Barewa); Monday Omorogieva (Racing); Joshua Etim (Barewa); Jeremiah Peters (Kings College Old Boys); Daniel John (Cowrie); Isah Omale (Barewa); Ezekiel Tom (Gosar); Gabriel Etim (Barewa)