25 Nov 2014

Following three years of development work in the state of Tigray, Ethiopia has been awarded official observer status by the RLEF, becoming the sixth African nation to be recognised. Centred around the Nicholas Robinson School in Mekelle, the sport is regularly taught to 1,300 children, aged between 7 and 17-years-old.

The school’s senior sports teacher, Abebuker Ahmed Tadesse, is the president of the newly formed association, created in cooperation with the sports committee of the state of Tigray.

“We are introducing rugby league football in Ethiopia – through the Tigray Region - at youth level, so as to create a firm foundation for future growth,” said Abubeker. “We are beginning in schools and universities in the north of Ethiopia, and we will spread our sport to the rest of the country.”

Chairman of the sport committee is the Senior Technical Expert of Tigray Region Government Sport Bureau, Mr Angesom Kahsay, who worked closely with Abubeker to create the association.

The Ethiopian rugby league now needs to achieve official status in three other states for the federal ministry in Addis Ababa to recognise it formally and provide resources. The first step in this process will be the training of more coaches and referees, which will be undertaken by RLEF MEA Director Remond Safi when he visits Mekelle at the end of the month. Safi has been invited by school director Tesfahunegn Hailemariam and will teach 20 coaches from the Tigray Region as well as meet government officials.

Pictured: One of the girls' teams in Mekelle.