Creativity has been the obvious choice for surviving the boredom in the wake of the abrupt halt in sporting activities and all forms of social gathering due to the outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus. One of such creative ideas which will change the face of virtual sports and engage fans actively in Ghana was initiated over the weekend by the Rugby League Federation Ghana (RLFG).
Until the entry of COVID-19 into the country, the RLFG had organized only two of its monthly 9s series in January and February. That of March seemed to be going amiss until it posted on its official social media handles last week, the introduction of a virtual or E-tournament to engage fans and sympathizers of the oval ball. This sparked a lot of discussion both within the federation and the global RL community as to how the baby federation would pull this off. Yet many waited keenly to participate and see the outcome.
It was then followed up with the RLFG explaining the modus operandi of the games which was going to be played via the casting of votes. As such players, supporters and sympathizers at large would be able to actively play to determine the fate of their clubs in the meet.
Matches were going to last the usual 18minutes within which virtual players would have to vote their clubs to victory. The federation chose Twitter for this month’s series explaining that it would explore other social media options in the coming months. Scores are calculated as percentages of the total votes casted. Hence the club with more votes wins the duel.
At 2pm on Sunday, games commenced with Panthers bagging their first ever win over the Bulls in any competition by 58% to 42%. The second game saw Pirates also claim their first ever victory of 54% to 46% over Skolars in a closely fought battle. Bulls RLFC further edged Skolars RLFC closer to the bottom with a thumping 65% to 35% win. Game 4 saw Pirates RLFC and Panthers RLFC, the two bottom teams hitherto the virtual games, battle it out with Panthers having their way over the Pirates 58% to 42% launching the Panthers onto the top of the log table with two wins out of two. In their last games, Skolars RLFC sought to undo the Panthers’ virtual supremacy but fell short as they were walloped 67% to 33% to send them languishing at the bottom of the table. The final game was a decider between the Pirates and the Bulls to see who sits second to the Panthers who had comfortably occupied the first position. After a duel of keypads among supporters, players, managers and many others, Bulls escaped with a close win of 58% to 42% for the Pirates.
Commenting on the games, Miss Hilaria Wuaku (Head of communications) admitted; “This being our first ever E-tournament we had lots of participation from players and fans of these clubs, heritage Rugby League players from across the globe and more especially the non-rugby fans who were our major target. When asked the aim of this initiative, she said that: It was firstly to create an alternative for fans and players as they sit at home keeping safe. Also, to increase the followership of the game of Rugby League in Ghana as well as active participation in our activities and events, of which we saw prospects with new followers and commendations from both far and home. On what the future is for Virtual Rugby League 9s, Miss Wuaku again added, “We intend to dish out more of these E-tournaments weekly until it’s safe to hit the field again, while exploring the option of hosting clubs from around the world in our competitions”. In the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic ends soon, the federation intends to have both the Physical and virtual tournaments run concurrently to pull followers and fans to the games where they would stand a chance of winning some amazing prizes.
Would Panthers RLFC maintain their place next Sunday, or they would be toppled by the one of the three wounded teams?? Follow us live on our social media handles to find out.