Ghana’s Herbert Mensah, a sports administrator, and President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union, has announced his candidacy for President of the World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, the governing body of rugby in Africa.
Rugby Africa will be electing a new president at the Annual General Meeting to be held in Cape Town on 18 March, 2023.
The President will be elected for a four year term commencing immediately after the results are announced by the executive committee. This will also be the first time in the history of Rugby Africa that elections will be contested.
Herbert Mensah was nominated by the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation to run for President. Mensah, a current member of the Africa Rugby Executive Committee, is also an accomplished businessman with many years of experience in the business and sports sectors in Africa.
In 2014, Mensah took the helm at the Ghana Rugby Football Union where he significantly increased awareness around the sport while injecting much enthusiasm for players and officials, as well as encouraging the youth to participate in rugby through numerous initiatives and activities. He was instrumental in spearheading the national team’s qualification to the World Series, after they won the West Africa competition, before moving on to the African championship.
Mensah’s vision is to build a positive and strong brand for Rugby Africa, and to make rugby more accessible and visible to all Africans, in particular the youth. He would like to see an increase in continental competitions and greater support of member associations in terms of how they are structured and in economic development of the sport.
Currently, less than 30 percent of rugby players in Africa are women. Mensah’s strategic plan is to broaden the reach and appeal of rugby, raising the profile and image of women rugby players and officials, while ensuring that all structures further reflect diversity and inclusion of the sport. He also wants to ensure greater cohesion between English and French speaking countries, both in terms of sport and governance.
Commenting on his candidacy Mensah said, “I am extremely humbled to be nominated to run for President, and I am overwhelmed by the well wishes from my colleagues and peers. I am immensely proud as an African, to be given a chance to represent Africa on a global platform. African rugby has historically not received the recognition it deserves, and I look forward to the opportunity to use this platform to create meaningful change, while promoting a better understanding of the game on the continent, and beyond, and to encourage greater support of rugby across the entire African continent. If elected, my tenure will be one marked with service to Africa Rugby, and the rugby and sports fraternity at large on the continent.”
2023 Rugby World Cup will be held in France from September to October. Mensah hopes to use this world-class platform to collaborate with leading international rugby bodies and other associations to raise awareness around African rugby, while gaining much-needed support for the sport. Rugby will be one of the first competitions on show at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, where Mensah hopes to see more representation from African teams in the qualifying events.