Super League youngsters called up for African World Cup qualifiers

James Gordon
Rio-Osayomwanbo Corkill

St Helens youngster Rio-Osayomwanbo Corkill is one of a handful of Super League youngsters called up by African nations for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Corkill, 19, made his Super League debut against Wakefield on Bank Holiday Monday, and has been called up to the Nigeria squad.

He is joined by young Hull KR prop Daniel Okoro and Castleford winger Abdullah Balogun.

Former London Broncos centre Tuoyo Egodo, now with Birmingham Moseley rugby union club, is also selected by Nigeria for the 2022 Middle East Africa Championship.


The tournament will act as part of the qualifying process for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, to be held in France.

The MEA Championship will take place from September 27 to October 2 in Accra, Ghana.

Corkill said:  “Being chosen for Nigeria means a lot to me, and the chance to represent a side of my family that I would love to learn more about is very exciting.

“To do my family proud is the priority for me, and representing them here is something special.

“To have the opportunity to be the trailblazers for African rugby league is also something very exciting, and to make the people of Nigeria proud of our performances and journey would mean a lot to the team.”

Rio-Osayomwanbo Corkill hails from Barrow and played for the Walney Central community club before joining the Saints’ scholarship in 2019.

He scored six tries in 10 appearances for Saints reserves this season, before making his professional debut as a substitute in St Helens’ 34-18 home defeat to Wakefield last month.

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World Cup qualifying

Another British based player, Michael Ayodeji Ogunwole of the British Army, is also included in the Nigeria squad.

The other nations competing are Cameroon, Ghana and Kenya. Kenya were recently drafted in as a replacement for Morocco.

The Ghana squad includes Levi Osei, who is a Canterbury Bulldogs junior.

In the opening round of fixtures, Kenya will face Ghana and Cameroon take on Nigeria.

It has been confirmed that at least one team from the Middle East or Africa will qualify for the 2025 World Cup.

The eight quarter-finalists from the upcoming 2021 tournament will automatically qualify, with another 27 countries due to enter the qualifying tournament.

Of the 16 places, six-to-eight will be taken by European nations, five-to-seven by Asia and Pacific region countries, two by North and South American countries and then one or two from Middle East and African countries.



Jean Claude Bidjana, Armel Damdja, Cyrille Kamole, Nzokou Martial, Hermand Nguele, Patrick Nkouak, Lamare Oudi (Bulls RL), Emmanuel Tientchue (Gorilla RL), Mouhamed Embella, Christian Tedjou, Loic Tsasse (Guepard RL), Philippe Ambassa, Bekolo Elie Jean Bliase, Ledoux Fosso, Fabrice Joufang, Frank Watio (Panda RL) Pitoile Assomo, Paul Atungsiri Ndifor, Georgane Ngoufack (Rock RL)  Carol Manga, Khalil Njoya (Unattached)


Yakubu Suleman (Accra Majestics), Jonas Moorkaar (Accra Panthers), Anane Benjamin, Kwasi Akuamoah Boateng, Bawa Bright, Geotrah Desmond, Collins Ofosu, Nigel Sackey (Bulls), Levi Osei (Canterbury Bulldogs), Sean Sabutey (Glebe Dirty Reds), Oliver Puman (Nungua Tigers), Jonathan Adotey, Philip Asomani, John Bless Mensah (Pirates), Emmanuel Acheampong, Riddick Alibah, Richard Amevor, Jordan Annan, Elvis Ayertey, William Pearce Biney, Chris da Gama, Francis Lawson (Skolars), Joseph Nelson (St Mary’s University), Isaac Akuoko (Wong Roos)


Denish Ndinya (AP), John Awiti Oketch, Raymond Ekutu (Rhinos), Tony Khadambi, Brony Lucky, Timothy Thimba (Ruffians), Joel Inzuga, Eliakim Kichoi, Celestine Mboi, Floyd Wambwire, (Sharks), James Maranga, Ramadan Masete, Finely Mokoro, Remi Odhiambo, Victor Odhiambo, Philimon Olang,  Paul Seda (Winam), Horus Alela, Ahmed Hamed, Collin Ochieng, Wyclif Ratemo (Wolves)


Anthony Tuoyo Egodo (Birmingham Mosley RFC), Michael Ayodeji Ogunwole (British Army), Abdullah Balogun (Castleford Tigers), Kanu Shedrack Agwu (Eko Trinity), Daniel Okoro (Hull KR), Jude Abrakson, Emmanuel Onyekwe Ebuk, Julius Godwin, Nuhu Ibrahim, Gabriel John, Issa Omale, Ibrahim Suraju, Bashir Usman (Kano Lions), Azuka Chika, Daniel John, Isah Lawal-Saulawa, Olisa Nwokedi, Kelvin Olisa, Akeem Yusuf (Lagos Haven), Rio-Osayomwanbo Corkill (St Helens)