NAMIBIA’s national under 20 rugby team leaves for Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday to defend their title at the Africa u20 Rugby Championship and try and qualify for the World Rugby u20 Trophy which takes place in Brazil from 9 to 21 July this year.
The team on Monday received their national colours at the Namibia Sport Commission, where the president of the Namibia Rugby Union, Corry Mensah said he was confident they would do well.
“As the defending champions I’m hopeful and confident that we will qualify for Brazil. The players have worked hard, we have some good talent together, and I’m confident that they will represent Namibia with pride,” he said.
Namibia have won the Africa Junior Cup for the past three years in a row and coach Johan Diergaardt said he hoped the ‘fourth year jinx’ would not affect them. Diergaardt, who also coaches Unam, was referring to Unam’s failure to win the premier league title for four years in a row after they won it in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“The fourth year was not good for me and Unam, but we’ll have to cut out that pressure. But I’m thankful that we can participate in our beloved sport in a stable country,” he said.
“We’ll do our best, we want to qualify for Brazil and have worked hard over the past month. We have some very talented players, we had a good set of trials and I think we selected the best team,” he added.
The chief administrator of the NSC Freddy Mwiya praised Mensah for remaining steadfast during a difficult time for the NRU.
“You have undergone very difficult times and received a lot of negative publicity, but you remained steadfast for the sake of Namibia and the sport. Now they are going to defend your title and you must fight like your leaders did to represent Namibia,” he said.
The team is quite new with only 10 players out of 25 remaining from last year. It also includes only two premier league players in United props Chris Swanepoel and Gerhard Opperman, while four more players study in South Africa.
Namibia will play Senegal in their opening match on Thursday, 4 April, while Kenya will play Tunisia. Three days later the losers will play each other for third place while the winners play out for the trophy and a ticket to Brazil.
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Publish date : 2019-04-02 10:15:34