Guns, arrests, robbers and unofficial payments

We may have just discovered the craziest rugby league away day of all time!

The Middle East and Africa Rugby League Championship was staged in Nigeria at the start of this month.

One of the competing nations were debutants Cameroon who made the long journey to the event on a small bus.

Little did they know that the eventual eight-day return trip would involve the players and staff putting their lives at risk to compete in their first international tournament.

The four-day journey to the venue saw them eat and sleep on the coach, while having to pass fifteen check points and numerous other challenges along the way.

Despite arriving just two hours before their first game, Cameroon more than held their own but fatigued in the latter stages of a narrow 8-4 defeat to Morocco.

This was followed up by another close loss, going down 10-4 against Ghana, before all the teams came together to celebrate the historic occasion.

Hailed as heroes for making it to the tournament, little did the Cameroon camp know that the worst was yet to come as they set off back home.

On the return journey, which also took four days, the team were arrested, held at gunpoint, attacked by robbers and forced to pay numerous unsanctioned payments.

Thankfully all players and staff made it home safely and Cameroon general manager, Carol Manga, told the RLEF website how the trip had united the team.

“We received support from our friends across the world, however not enough to secure flights so we took a bus,” said Manga.

“Travelling this way is a struggle however also has so many positive aspects as we forged a great bond.

“The players pushed themselves to see their dream come true and play international rugby league. I’m so proud of all the team.”

RLEF general manager Chris Thair added: “This is a remarkable story which typifies the commitment towards rugby league in Africa and the Middle East.

“We wish to offer further support to the nations however cannot do so without the support from businesses and the international community.”

Original story: Click here

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