FNB Wanderers vice chairman, Willem van Zyl, believes his team stands a better chance of winning the elusive Namibia Rugby Premier League (NRPL) when they come up against Trustco United in the final on Saturday.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, van Zyl said they are relieved to play against Trustco United instead of the defending champions UNAM who they lost to in three consecutive finals since 2015.
Wanderers last won the league title in 2010 when they beat Rehoboth Rugby Club in the finals.
The 2018 NRPL final will be played at the Hage Geingob Stadium on the same day that the Welwitschias will play Zimbabwe in the Africa Gold Cup, which serves as a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.
Wanderers reached their fifth consecutive final after beating FNB Western Suburbs 47-21, while Trustco United are in their first final since 2014, courtesy of a 32-31 win against UNAM last Saturday.
This year’s final will be a repeat of the 2014 final that was won by United.
“It is good to have a change. We played and lost against UNAM in three consecutive finals and maybe it was just bad luck. I think the losses to UNAM were more of a mental issue,” Van Zyl said.
United coach, Jood Opperman, told the Windhoek Observer that the final could be his last match in charge of the team.
“This could be my last match in charge as I have sacrificed a lot financially for rugby. I will, however, see if I will be in charge for the Gold Cup (A competition for non-university rugby clubs in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe). Now the rules have changed as only the winner of the league will play in the tournament and not when it was the team that was first or second on the log after the first round,” Opperman said.
Opperman knows well how to win titles having guided United to league glory in 2014. He, however, cautioned his team not to underestimate a hungry Wanderers.
“I told the players to forget about last weekend’s win and 2014 success because this is a new final in a new year. This final will be very special to me because I would like to bow out with success,” Opperman said.