Namibia lags behind Africa in rugby sevens

10 August 2018 Author   Michael Uugwanga
Namibia has struggled to assemble a competitive Rugby Sevens team leaving it well behind other African countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia,
who are all doing well in the shorter version of the game.
The senior national rugby team has qualified for the last five International Rugby Board (IRB) Rugby World Cup finals and is currently ranked second in Africa behind the Springboks of South Africa. 
But Namibia has generally struggled with the shorter version of the game, and the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) admitted this week that it has failed to put more emphasis on Sevens rugby.
NRU Development Officer, Christopher Alexander, said the reason why the country is still struggling to assemble a Sevens team was due to a lack of communication between clubs in the Namibia Rugby Premier League (NRPL) and the NRU.
Alexander said NRPL clubs are always reluctant to provide the NRU with some of their players to be considered for Sevens selection because of the busy schedule.
Most clubs in the NRPL find it very difficult to provide players for the Sevens team as they are already providing players for the Welwitschias in the world cup qualifiers and in both the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and the Currie Cup competition.
“This is a very complex situation. The approach that we had was totally wrong in the beginning. It was focused on the top to bottom instead of bottom to top.
“Many of the other countries focus on Sevens and put many most of their resources in Sevens and not in 15s,” Alexander said.
There are also doubts that the Safland Sevens tournament, which has been hosted at the end the year for the last three years, will take place this year.
Alexander said in order for Namibia to have a regular competitive male Sevens team, they will need at least N$600,000.
He said the union has tried its level best to source funds for a Sevens tournament, but it has failed to get a potential sponsor.
“We need at least N$600,000 to run a Sevens tournament, but due to the economic climate, sponsors are hard to come on board,” he said.
The NRU recently informed NRPL clubs to nominate their players for trials after which a team will be selected to represent the country at the Rugby Africa’s Sevens men tournament that that is slated for 13 to 14 October in Monastir, Tunisia.
The trials will take place Saturday 11 August.
Zambia, which is more of a football playing nation, is doing well with its Sevens rugby. The neighbouring country qualified for the 2018 Commonwealth Games that were held in Australia in April.
Zambia, however, failed to win a single match at their debut major tournament when they lost 0-47 to Kenya, 0-47 to Canada and 0-54 to New Zealand.
Zambia’s rugby male Sevens team is sponsored by Windhoek Draught Beer.
Uganda and Zimbabwe were at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in the USA. The tournament took place from 20 July to 22 July 2018.
Namibia last played at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1997, finishing in 21st position, the same as in 1993.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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