By John Tuerijama
THE Namibia Ruby Limited (NRL) will soon undertake a familiarisation tour to the four northern regions, in the hope of introducing the sport not very well known in the area that plays mainly football and volleyball.
NRL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mervin Green, responding to questions from Confidente recently, said that rugby development remains the responsibility of the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) as the custodian of the game. The NRL is responsible for the commercial and high performance rugby activities, with the focus mainly on the national teams.
“We are very much aware of the situation that the game needs to expand to other regions outside Khomas and Erongo. I am not in a position to say much about this aspect of the game but what I have learned is that there is a lot of work to be done in this area,” said Green.
He said the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service was right by saying the game needs to grow to other regions, and hence the NRL was committed to assist with initiatives to grow and transform the game because this is the future of Namibia Rugby.
Green said more schools and clubs need to play rugby in Namibia for the game to develop.
“I understand that the highest population lives in the north so that is exactly why we will visit the northern regions to establish the possibility of growing the game. We will be visiting the regions soon, as from this month and will revitalise the development programmes which have been lapsed by the NRU,” revealed the NRL CEO.
“I am currently in Dublin (Ireland) talking to World Rugby to assist Namibia with the development of the game. Funding remains a big challenge. To restart the programme will cost us a few million Namibian dollars. Therefore, medium to long term corporate sponsors are needed as well as government support,” Green said.
In the wake of the Namibia rugby national team doing exceptionally well against Uganda, Tunisia and Morocco in the 2018 Africa Gold Cup campaign, Green said that in the past six months the focus was to get the company operational in terms of structure, human resources processes, contractual agreements signed with World Rugby, Namibia Breweries Limited and First National Bank.
“We secured three more sponsors in Pupkewitz Toyota, Air Namibia and Protea Hotels, and rebranding of the stadium and implementation plan to manage the stadium as a business that can generate revenue for the NRU to cover their operational expenses. We have also fully equipped the high performance center to train all national teams and the academy squad,” said the CEO.
Green praised Namibia’s much improved performance in the recent Super Sport Rugby Challenge and that they secured a high level technology (GPS system) to assist national team coaches with player progress.
The CEO said that it was vitally important that Namibia qualifies for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, billed for Tokyo, Japan. “The team is good enough to qualify and compete in the World Cup. The 2015 world cup performance is a great motivation to be part of the biggest rugby spectacle. The rest of the African nations are catching up with us, but we will still qualify.”
“The key thing is to stay ahead of the rest and for us to achieve this goal we need a professional setup to run the game as a business. The company is doing exactly this. At the moment we are working very hard in securing more sponsors for the national team in preparation for the world cup next year,” said Green.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015