By John Tuerijama
PLANS are underway to have the national rugby women sevens team qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games billed for Tokyo, Japan.
Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) development officer, Christopher Alexander told Confidente that it is important for the country to play in an all-world championship and more so to qualify for the Olympic Games.
He said women’s rugby in Namibia is relatively in its infant stage compare with other countries in Africa. “Having said that, one must look to a realistic approach to make it possible for the girls to make it to the Olympic Games,” said added.
“We are currently trying to implement a long term plan to ensure that come the qualifiers for Japan 2020, we have a team that stands a proper chance to qualify. This will however be a tough ask since we need to compete with countries like South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia and Zimbabwe,” he said.
He was however confident that with the energy put into women’s rugby development by the International Rugby Board and NRU, the Namibian lady can hold their own during the qualifiers.
According to Alexander, development of women’s rugby in the country is targeting secondary schools with a target of at least five schools per year.
Alexander said there is a huge interest in rugby by women and girls in Namibia, noting that a proper national women’s league might be in the offing if development is carried through properly.
“At this stage we only have two independent women’s clubs, so it’s not sensible to run a league now, however, we are running a sevens league for secondary schools. It runs on a regional level, followed by a national final,” said Alexander.
The Namibia women’s sevens team had their first competitive tournament in Zimbabwe for the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens’ championship recently and based on their performance, Alexander has observed remarkable improvement in their game.
“Their conditioning and skill level is far better than it was previously but there is still room for improvement which can be done through regular competitions.”
However, the biggest challenge for women’s sevens rugby is funding, said Alexander. “For us, corporate sector involvement remains a critical issue. We certainly lack the funding to take the game to the next level. Corporate funding will not only grow the game but will definitely raise the standard thereof. Having a proper women’s league will definitely enhance the standard of the game,” he pleaded.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015