….targets to record a victory in Japan
By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA is yet to record a single victory at the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Cup which has been elusive in their past five appearances. But to secure a convincing campaign at the 2019 Tokyo world showdown, the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) needs N$20 million to prepare thoroughly. The national rugby team, popularly known as ‘Welwitschias’, hammered their African rivals Kenya by 53-28 to lift the Africa Gold Cup for the fourth consecutive time. Namibia Rugby Limited (NRL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mervin Green appealed to both the public and private sectors to rally behind the team and contribute financially to ensure they prepare the team professionally to be competitive at the Rugby World Cup penciled for Japan. Speaking to Confidente Sports on the possible international friendly matches as part of the team’s preparations, Green said indeed negotiations were currently under way with other rugby unions to secure friendly warm-up games for next year. “We will reveal this soonest when we have confirmation. We are in the process to secure at least three matches during November 2019 in Europe,” said Green. There was a possibility that Namibia will have three test matches in November. “Our objective for next year’s world rugby showpiece is to win at least one game and put pressure on Italy, hopefully we can go close against them,” stressed the NRL CEO. Welwitschias head coach Phil Davies said they are very proud to have achieved qualification for the Rugby World Cup and also the manner in which the team secured qualification. “Being the champions for these past four years is an excellent performance by the players and we hope the country is duly proud of them [players],” said Davies. Davies acknowledged that the team faced some challenges during the 2018 Africa Gold Cup campaign, both on and off the field. “However, we always talk about controlling the controllable, this is the mind-set of the players and staff used the past three and a half years to do that. It has proved to be successful as you saw on Saturday (during the final).” Davies did not rule out recalling players who did not make it into the team during the Africa Gold Cup campaign due to injuries. “There are a few players we are looking at, like Divan Roussow, Renaldo Bothma to name a couple. We will only bring players in when we feel they can make a massive difference to the squad,” he said. Davies said what impressed him most during the Africa Gold Cup campaign was how the whole team on the field came together and performed as a unit in each match. The coach praised the Welwitschias success despite Namibia’s small player’s base. “We have 890 players playing domestics rugby in Namibia. So, to be ranked at 21 in the World along with qualifying for yet another World Cup is quite remarkable,” emphasized the head coach. Davies was pleased with the crowd rallying behind the national rugby team home ties and described the support during the final against Kenya as “absolutely amazing and gave the players and staff a massive boost”. “Let us hope we can keep filling the stadiums over the next 12 months and beyond,” said the head coach.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015