New York, NY – Last time, we began interviewing Mike Wilson of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU). This time we finish our interview and fill you in on the brief and impressive history of Mr. Wilson and Ghana Rugby.
JB: Last time we talked about the great achievements of your club, Cosmos Buffaloes. Let’s talk about the rest of the league. With 7 other teams, your season must be very short
Wilson: It is actually quite long. Our regular season goes from March to August.
JB: That seems extremely long for a league with so few teams. Why is that?
Wilson: Well we play 15s and have 7s tournaments over the course of the season. We train every other Saturday because no team can train at night because finding a lit field at night in Ghana is impossible. Plus you have to consider that people have different lives and different schedules. On the Saturday that we are not training we usually have a game. If we do not have a scheduled match or practice, occasionally players get together amongst themselves to train together.
JB: Very interesting stuff. Let’s turn our attention back to the national team for a minute. What level is Ghana Rugby at on the continent?
Wilson: Currently Ghana is in CAR D3, along with Nigeria. Ivory Coast, Togo, Niger, Senegal. We came second in Togo last year in the CAR D3 7s tournament. It was a close game and we narrowly lost. This summer the 15s national team will be in Niger, hopefully we win the tourney and move up to D2.
JB: I hope you have fun and do well when you’re out there. Do you prefer 7s or 15s?
Wilson: I prefer 15s. Because of the cost per player for the international 7’s matches I am not doing it this season. The captain for the 7s MNT will be Habbsa Sulliman. I know he will do a great job. I believe 7s is the future for Ghana rugby. It can help us earn respect while our 15s program develops. You only need to look at Kenya to see what is possible with the right mix of coaches and athleticism.
JB: Is that who you would like Ghana rugby to become? The next Kenya? Do we have the ability?
Wilson: If you look at a guy like Paul Sackey, who is of Ghanian Hertiage, and someone I am a huge fan of for that marvelous try in 2007, you can see what can happen with the right coaching. We would love him to be like a rugby Marcel Desailly. It would be huge for Ghana rugby.
JB: What else would you like to say about Ghana rugby?
Wilson: I just want to highlight the incredible room for growth we have, the potential to be a real powerhouse and compete with the likes of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya as an African power.
JB: Those are the long term goals for Ghana rugby, what about yours?
Wilson: Eventually I want to be the head coach of the national team and further down the line, the president of Ghana rugby. There is great support for Ghanaian rugby within the government, which is great for the sport on a domestic and national level.
JB: Mike, thank you for a great interview and I will be sure to sing the Ghana rugby football union’s praises when I get back. Along with your praises Mr. Wilson.
Wilson: No, it is I who should be thanking you and I am so happy to help spread the word about Ghana Rugby.
JB: I want to stop here and tell our readers to watch the impromptu and unscripted video footage of our interview (warts and all) here, here and here.
Before we go, I wanted to mention on Mike’s behalf that he would love an opportunity to play rugby at a higher level. We discussed South Africa as choice number 1 but if you or your club are interested in having Mike experience the atmosphere of rugby at a higher level, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get you in contact with Mike.
That is it for now, feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @Mathew Drew Turner and @Ebstide52, respectively. And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.