Whitehaven are set to break new ground through a partnership with a Nigerian club.

Former Haven player Ade Adebisi is the vice-president and general manager of the new Nigeria Rugby League Association.

He is in Whitehaven tomorrow to speak at a Recreation Ground event organised by the vice-president’s group when he will outline plans for the link.

Des Byrne, a leading member of the vice-presidents, said that Adebisi had first approached him last year.

“I was able to put him in touch with some people who were able to help progress the game in Nigeria,” said Byrne. “They are hosting an African tournament later this year but the sport is very much in its infancy out there.”

Three nations on debut, and one returning to the international fold, will contest the second RLIF Middle East Africa Championship in October.

The event, staged over four days, will be hosted at the Teslim Balogum Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria, with the hosts facing fellow newcomers Ghana, and Cameroon coming up against Morocco, who last played a representative fixture in the first tournament eight years ago.

“The MEA Championship could be one of the most significant moments in the history of international rugby league,” said Adebisi.

“The staging of such a tournament here, in the largest economy in Africa, is a massive opportunity for both Nigeria and the sport.”

The Nigerian RL Association has recently established four clubs for their competition which begins this month.

Byrne explained: “It’s envisaged that the partnership would initially see coaches coming over to spend time with us, observing training and matches. Then, hopefully a few years down the line, there might be an opportunity for promising Nigerian players to come over and play at Whitehaven.

“Ade has already set up partnerships with three Super League clubs in Leeds, Wakefield and London Broncos but wanted to involve us from outside the top tier.

“One of the clubs in Nigeria will be playing in Whitehaven’s traditional colours of chocolate, blue and gold and our vice-presidents have organised to send out a strip,” said Byrne.

Adebisi scored 32 tries in 43 games for Whitehaven in 2008/09 after starting his career with London Skolars. He will stay over in Whitehaven so that he can attend the top-of-the-table clash on Saturday night between two of his former clubs.

Tomorrow night’s event in the JJ McKeown bar starts at 7.30pm and there are tickets still available at £10 which includes food.