The Ghana rugby family has successfully held its 2014 Ghana Rugby Stakeholder Forum under the theme “From Eaglets to Eagles” at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday 29th August 2014.Ghana Rugby Football Union, Mr. Herbert Mensah, was elated about the historical event and noted, “Not only was it the first time ever that all Rugby Stakeholders were involved in the process of drafting a Blueprint or Roadmap for Ghana Rugby, it was also the very first time that coaches were presented with IRB (International Rugby Board) Level 1 Coaching certificates for both 15s and 7s coaching.”The Ghana Rugby Stakeholder Forum 2014 (GRSF 2014) was held after approximately three months of intensive assessment of the state of Ghana Rugby that included numerous meetings with associations, clubs, sponsors, players and many others who desperately want to see Ghana rugby soar higher.The GRSF 2014, attended by more than 40 stakeholders, allowed for constructive discussion and collaboration as well as presentations by various stakeholders with ample time for questions and answers.In line with the values of Rugby, the emcee Mr. Ernest Afloe who is also a Board member, ordered the Forum to start on time despite the fact that there were only a few delegates who arrived on time and despite the fact there was no power at the time.Mr. Mensah who opened the GRSF 2014 stressed the fact that Rugby in Ghana is not for the Ghana Rugby Football Union Board, but for the Rugby family in Ghana and abroad that include a wide spectrum of stakeholders ranging from players, schools, clubs, associations, coaches, referees, administrators, government bodies, supporters and fans as well as the sponsors and donors without whom there will be no growth in Ghana Rugby. To ensure constant interaction, the draft Blueprint was published on the Ghana Rugby website – http://ghanarugby.org/forum/ for stakeholders to continue with their inputs.Mr. Ernest Hanson, Vice President of the GRFU Board, summed up the essence of the Blueprint that broadly consists of three sections namely: the current state of Ghana Rugby; the preferred state of Ghana Rugby; and guidelines for action to achieve the preferred state.He emphasised that the Ghana Rugby Family faces many challenges and called for sacrifices and patience from stakeholders.“Enormous efforts are required on the fronts of governance and structure, building technical capacities in terms of both coaching and officiating, implementing the development framework that stretches from junior 6 year old level to senior national team level for men, women, boys and girls across the various forms such as ‘Get Into Rugby’, Tag or Touch Rugby, 7s, 10s and 15s,” Mr. Hanson said. He also noted that the establishment of regular tournaments for junior and senior level players as well as for Ghana’s national teams, the Eagles and Eaglets, are essential.Mr. Hanson reminded the Forum that the new Ghana Rugby Board started their administration with about GHS 240. Funding of Rugby is therefore the key priority of not only the Board, but indeed of everybody involved in Rugby, he said.Mr. Michael Ako Wilson, President of the Ghana Rugby Players Association (GRUPA), highlighted stumbling blocks that players faced in the past. They included medical insurance, player registration and records, rugged playing pitches, inadequate competitions, poor camping conditions, unfair wages and treatment, ineffective coaching, awful travelling conditions.“We as players simply ask for a vibrant media and PR agenda, a proper blueprint, feasible projects, laudable policies, strong Rugby Family relationships and involvement in overall management,” he said.Upper East Mr. Emmanuel Linford Bamfi, who presented the development of Rugby in Zone 4 (Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions), said the Zone has seen no development to date.“We should not be rushing the development but rather make sure that establish a manageable and sustainable programme starting at grassroots level with the selection of a few willing schools in each Region that can also take part in meaningful and sustainable tournaments. Senior rugby will flow logically from this if we can do it right,” Mr. Bamfi said.When he took his turn, Mr. Sydney Yankson in charge of financing and sponsorship for the GRFU Board took participants through Brand Exposure, Event activation, Consumer Engagement, Supporter database, Interactive Social Media and Potential Target Sponsors.Mr. Yankson also stressed the importance of the image of Ghana Rugby and advised members to root out indiscipline, bad management and washing dirty linen in the public. Mr. Herbert Mensah, President of GRFU, Mr. Herbert Mensah shared his experience when he visited the International Rugby Board. “When I visited the IRB (International Rugby Board) soon after the June election of the new Board it was made abundantly clear that after eleven years Ghana Rugby is not ready to become a full member of the IRB. The positive message from the IRB, however, was that Ghana Rugby just have to get a few basic aspects in place to qualify.”Mr. Mensah stressed that new policies and procedures in line with the IRB policies and procedures guidelines will be issued, but noted that those would not be his or the Board’s dictates, but global requirements.Mr. Mensah assured participants that his outfit will incorporate all inputs to the draft Blueprint and to transform the Blueprint into succinct communiqué for various stakeholders.“The most important aspects is that we have now come to the point where blueprint must transform to action. Many project teams – committees don’t work – will be formed and it will be for the project team leaders to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and with their chosen project team members turn dreams into reality,” Mr. Mensah said.Even though organizers said invited the National Sports Association (NSA) and the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) were invited to contribute to the forum and success of rugby, no official from the two institutions responded to the invitation.