Welwitschias coach, Phil Davies, has expressed his concern about the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) council’s willingness to withdraw the team from next year’s Rugby World Cup to be staged in Japan.
NRU council members Christian Windvogel and Keith Allies recently threatened to withdraw Namibia from next year’s world cup after a Welwitschias Invitation team played with black armbands against a Blue Bulls Invitation team on 22 September to show solidarity with Namibia Rugby Limited (NRL) and its high-performance programme.
Allies told the Windhoek Observer this week that the reason why the council is threatening to withdraw the national team from the world cup is because some of the players have threatened to go on strike because they are not happy with the relationship between the NRU and NRL.
The outspoken Allies also said council is not happy with the fact that NRL has taken over the mandate of the NRU, such as the selection of players.
“The withdrawal from the world cup at this point is the last solution, but if the players go on strike we will either select a new team or withdraw the team from the world cup.
“We, as council, wish to express our view that we do not have a problem with the existence of a company (NRL), but only with the mandate as provided within the NRU Constitution that reads in rule 8.2.13.
‘To incorporate or form a company, close corporation or body corporate or trust for purposes of raising funds and managing the Union assets…’
He said NRU was also not happy with the fact that it no longer receives funding from World Rugby as the grant money now goes straight to the NRL.
“Even the sponsorship money from Namibia Breweries and that of First National Bank goes to NRL,” Allies said.
The NRL is spearheaded by South African-born Mervin Green who was appointed its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in January this year.
The company was formed to take care of all the national teams and the High Performance activities, which includes the NRU's National Academy.
In an interview with Windhoek Observer, Davies said he is distressed about the whole issue after the hard work put in by the players during the qualification process.
“I am very distressed about it all to be honest, after all the players’ hard work. The players have worked incredibly hard over the past four years to achieve qualification, that achievement has led to us establishing a healthy respect around the rugby world and we sincerely hope that respect can be built on at the Rugby World Cup in Japan,” Davies said.
He said he is hoping that the issue will be resolved before the end of the year in order for him to know whether he can continue with his work.
“We are always looking to improve all aspects of the game in Namibia and I sincerely hope things can be resolved as soon as possible in order for Namibian rugby to move forward successfully.
“We have successfully operated the high performance plan as laid out in conjunction with world rugby over the past few years and this has enabled us to retain the African cup on four consecutive occasions allowing qualification in record style. We will continue to prepare well for the World Cup,” Davies said.
Meanwhile, NRU President, Corry Mensah, has distanced himself from the matter, saying that he is not part of the council.
“I am not part of the council as I was just appointed as president by the council. I am not part of that decision. Ask the council,” Mensah told the Windhoek Observer.