The recent appointment of Ernest Hanson to the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) Board, has been described by Herbert Mensah, President and Board Chairman of the GRFU, as “the first step in a vision I had since taking over as President in 2014”.
Hanson joins GRFU with 20 years worth of experience both as a player and as an official.
Beginning his rugby education at Clifton College in the UK, he went on to represent Gloucester Rugby at academy level until the age of 21, and then played Senior Rugby for London Nigerians RFC.
Holder of a level 1 World Rugby Coach badge, Hanson is currently a Director at Ghana-based real estate firm, Beaufort Properties.
With over ten years experience in investment banking and real estate development, his passion for the game and its growth in Ghana is a key driver in him taking on the appointment.
The President of GRFU, Herbert Mensah, who spearheaded Hanson’s appointment exclaimed “Rugby, as most sporting disciplines, is a business that requires exceptional challenges regarding governance and it is essential to bring resources with a business background into the fold to assist with [the] biggest challenge we face, namely to place the Union on a sustainable funding platform.”
Hanson’s appointment comes off the back of a newly drafted constitution subsequently recognised by the IRB and Rugby Afrique.
The game of Rugby Union has extensive popularity in Commonwealth countries and Europe, it is also regarded as a major sport in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the South Pacific Islands. In the Americas, Rugby has seen an influx of promotions, with Argentina, the USA and Canada consistently representing at the Rugby World Cups. Asian countries have also put themselves on the map with the annual Hong Kong HSBC Rugby sevens series.
The rugby culture never really took centre stage in West Africa.
Despite its strong colonial ties, the “Gentleman’s game” was often overlooked for the game of football. Despite this the regulatory body of Rugby in Africa, Rugby Afrique have provided an avenue for the sport to thrive in the region.
The Springboks of South Africa have held the monopoly of representing the continent on the World Rugby stage. “South Africa played its first Rugby International in 1891, they became popularly known as the Springboks when they toured Britain in 1906. However, due to the nation’s dark era of apartheid, it was banned from the first two Rugby World Cups in 1987 and 1991 respectively. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Springboks will compete again at the international stage, after official sporting discrimination was abolished. South Africa went on to win the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and 2007, and has produced eleven rugby players inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.”
Ghana will be looking to launch an assault on Lesotho, Mauritius, and Rwanda as the nation hopes to gain promotion from the Africa Bronze Cup to the Silver Cup. A move towards Mensah’s goal of seeing Ghana partake in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.