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Other Sports of Monday, 23 March 2015

Source: Story by: David Apinga/XFM

Cosmos Buffaloes crowned 2014/2015 Champions of Ghana Rugby

Ghana Rugby reached a historic milestone in rugby as Cosmos Buffaloes RFC emerged winners of the first professionally run Club Championship for the past 11 years at the Legon Park on Saturday.

The Buffaloes defeated Madina-based Idas Sports RFC 19 – 9 in a tense final which will forever be remembered by every rugby loving fan as a turning point for the Ghana Rugby Club Championship.

Cosmos displayed an incredible show of attacking rugby and were rewarded in about 20 minutes with their first try, and a conversion that gave them a solid 7 – 0 lead. A 28-minute foul helped Idas to grab an important 3 points through a penalty goal.

The Buffaloes regrouped and managed to penetrate the weak defence of Idas once again in the 37th-minute to grab a second try which ensured a 12 – 3 advantage as the game progressed towards half time.

Shortly after the break, a Cosmos player was sent off for rough play, reducing his side to only 14 men. Idas fought back, capitalizing on the one man shortage of their opponents to score two penalty fouls to take their tally to 9 points.

From then on, it was anybody's game until the youthful exuberance of Cosmos overpowered the experienced but aged side of Idas. A strong run by Hamza Diaba Suleimana, who would go on to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, sealed off victory for the Lapaz lads with their third try. A conversion stretched the tally to 19 – 9 in favour of Cosmos to win the trophy for the 2014/2015 season.

Cosmos were presented with gold medals, the GRCC Trophy and a cash reward of Ghc2,000, and the runners up received silver medals and a cash reward of Ghc1,500.

The Best Coach award was presented to Cosmos Buffaloes RFC Coach Amuzuloh K.A. Salim.

The Fly Half for Cosmos Buffaloes RFC, Hamza Diaba Suleimana, also won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

The Highest Number of Tries award went to Legon Titan's Inside Center, Emmanuel Kalos Obinna.

Special awards were also presented to Abdul Aziz Isa, an Executive Member of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU); Rian Malan, a Consultant; George Nana Kojo Kumah Ladipo VII, National Technical Director and Mr. Steve Noi, Tournament Commissioner.

Ghana Rugby received massive endorsements from the newly appointed Sports Minister, Dr. Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed, who was a special guest for the finals and closing ceremony of the season.

In an interview, Dr. Ahmed disclosed that through consultation, he will create opportunities for the development of the game to place rugby on a high pedestal. He applauded the giant task being executed by the GRFU to advance rugby in the country.

"When I get my brief, I'll draw my plans but before then I will like to create opportunities for all the sporting activities within the country," the Minister underscored.

Mr. Herbert Mensah, President of the GRFU has spearheaded massive improvements including the first successful professionally run Ghana Rugby Club Championship.

He explained that the qualities that are missing in the Ghanaian society today are embodied in rugby. Players understand the issue of leadership, teamwork, respect, discipline and resilience.

Mr. Mensah was grateful to stakeholders such as Accra Brewery Limited, Zen Petroleum and Vodafone who have supported the success of rugby so far, and noted that his administration will work assiduously to brand Ghana Rugby and raise the image high to the level where clubs can start generating funds.

He however chastised sports authorities for their lackadaisical attitude towards minority sports in the country and admonished the government to honour its obligation to the GRFU.

"We know that the Ministry owes us Ghc100, 000 a year that has never been paid. Government has not been serious about minority sports; the National Sports Authority has been delinquent to minority sports. It is a culture that is not right in Ghana. We the custodians must put our foot forward and make it right," he concluded.

The National Technical Director, George Nana Kojo Kumah Ladipo VII, was very excited about the progress of the game of rugby when he spoke in an interview with the media. He is hopeful of international success for Ghana Rugby very soon due to the fast development that has been recorded in recent years.

He says the Union is making strides in the development of Rugby at the grassroots to unearth more talents at a young age.

The Coach of Cosmos Buffaloes RFC was full of excitement for the victory, which he attributed to the discipline exhibited by his team during the season. He says his team will train harder in order to retain the title next season.

The Manager of Idas Sports RFC, Mr. Abdul Samad Said, showed a lot of sportsmanship which is one of the tenets of Rugby by congratulating his opponents. He says he will begin massive recruitment to replace his aging team and called for corporate bodies to support his sports club.