She is the first female chairperson of a Rugby League club in Ghana, at age 28. Rachel Ankomah is making a bold statement in a male dominating sport and working hard to live a legacy in the world of Rugby League.
By Collins Kwabena Nsiah.
“I want to get to a place where anytime my name is mentioned, Rugby League should come to mind, I want to be an ambassador for the sports globally.”
Rachel Ankomah is the chairperson of Accra Majesty Rugby League Club in Ghana, the leader of one of the few rugby league clubs in the country set up in 2021. Prior to that, she was the Team Manager for Skolars Rugby League Club. The team placed 2nd in the Rugby League Federation Championship in 2019.
She served as the first Women’s coordinator for the Rugby League Federation Ghana (RLFG) in June 2020, charged with the responsibility to develop the women’s wing, she launched ‘Pretty Girls Play Rugby’, an initiative to see the growth of female participation in the sports.
“In Ghana, a campaign was launched in July 2020, ‘Pretty Girls Play Rugby League’ which has led to the formation of five women’s clubs,” International Rugby League claimed.
In 2020, Ankomah was selected to be part of the Middle East Africa Women’s Working Group, the group that oversees the development of women’s rugby league in the Middle East and African region. She also represented the group at the International Rugby League Women and Girls Advisory group.
She was voted Youth Sports Personality of the year at the Ghana Youth Awards in 2021.
“I have been into sports since I was a little girl, around the basic school through to the university where I was part of the hockey school team that went for the Ghana University Sports Association Games 2014 at the University of Cape Coast and 2016 at University of Education, Winneba. I also played cricket,” Ankomah said.
The first child of four children grew up in a humble family in the city of Accra where sports was not popular among girls of her age in the neighbourhood.
“I got closer to the guys because they were into sports than girls of my age mate, the girls didn’t like sports. I started with high jumps and racing then later I decided to do triple jump.”
Her rugby club as of this publication has registered 31 players, consisting of 9 females and twenty-two males.
The Accra Majesty Rugby League club is in the final stages of documentation and is hoping to complete the registration process to be able to be part of the 2022 Rugby League Championship scheduled for later this year.
Ankomah revealed that gendered stereotypes are her daily bread.
“Ghanaians are used to men being in charge, so it’s hard for people to take a woman in charge of a team serious,” she bemoaned.
“Getting funds is very hard. Again, women are still new to sports here so, most people still have misconceptions about it. We organise programmes focusing on women, so we can find ways to persuade them,” Ankomah explained.
Ghana will be hosting the Middle East Africa Championship (MEA) slated for later this year which will see Nigeria, Cameroon, and Morocco join the host nation Ghana in the four-nation tournament for an opportunity to join the qualification process on the continent for 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
www.zamireports.com / Ghana.