Stephen Lewis, the head coach of the Nigeria Rugby Sevens national team (the Black Stallions), has released a 12-man squad for the African Cup Sevens Tournament scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe from 16th – 17th September 2023.
The two-day tournament consists of twelve teams grouped into three pools of four teams each and will serve as the final qualifiers for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France.
Black Stallions co-captains, Declan Nwachukwu and Olukolade Awobowale, top the final list that was announced by Lewis on Wednesday. Also included in the roster are Gabriel John Etim, Matthew Ilube, and Oluwadara Odunlami.
Richard Adeniyi-Jones, Frederick Henry-Ajudua, Onoru-Oyiza Jatto, Pierre Goualin, Oghaneyoleme Macaulay, David Aniebonah, and Aristide Goualin, are all in contention for action in the qualifiers.
For the tournament, Nigeria is placed in Pool B alongside Kenya, Zambia and Namibia; South Africa, Madagascar, Tunisia and Cote d’Ivoire occupy Pool A while Pool C consists of hosts Zimbabwe, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Algeria.
The winner of the tournament will automatically qualify for the Rugby Sevens men’s event for the Paris Games while the second and third place teams enter the Olympic Repechage.
The Final Olympic Repechage Tournament will be held between the end of the Regional Qualification process and 23 June 2024, serving as the secondary route for countries to participate in the Paris Games.
Blacks Stallions are camping at a training centre in Harare for the final phase of camp as they prepare to go against all odds and tango the best teams on the continent, to secure a historic Olympic Rugby ticket.