The sour relationship between Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) and the clubs is turning uglier with clubs banning their players from participating in the union’s activities.
In October last year, a group representing eight rugby clubs, threatened to withdraw from the club league if their demands were not met, but now they have also threatened their players with expulsion if they continue to train with the national squad.
The NRU has invited players under the age of 20 to attend trials where some of them will be selected to represent the country at the upcoming rugby Africa under-20 slated for April this year ahead of the World Rugby Junior trophy in Uruguay in September. But that preparation is being hampered by the clubs telling their players to stay away from NRU activities or they will face the consequences. The university of Namibia rugby team (UNAM) has issued a stern warning to all their players who are attending trials with the NRU, they hope to be being selected for the national team which can be a great stepping stone to their career.
This is an unfortunate situation, players are caught up in between and they can’t do anything but watch their dreams being shattered. According to reports is that, clubs are protesting because lack of money and the slow process of transforming Namibian rugby. But the NRU chief executive officer Elizma Theron was adamant that the union does not have money but they are doing everything they can to improve the level of rugby in Namibia. The NRU is also hard at work looking for sponsorship for the Namibia rugby premier league.
One can just hope for the better, for rugby not to enter up like football, because if no sponsor is found then these youngsters are likely not to kick a ball soon. The senior team Welwitschias are also due to participate in the curie cup which will start in April, and they are also likely to suffer the same fate, as no player would go against their clubs’ order. In that regard the NRU is planning to use foreign based players, a scenario likely to be used in football too.
But it is not a good idea because the aim of the curie cup is to develop home based players. Participating on international stage will expose players and give them much needed experience which will benefit the national team. It is a good platform for the players to market themselves to be seen by top clubs that may be interested in signing them, which is also a good opportunity to make money because those clubs are financial stable.
Namibia has been doing well in rugby be it continental or international, having qualified for the world cup five times since their first appearance in 1999, the Welwitschias are ranked second in Africa behind South Africa and they are at number 20 in the world ranking. But with all these infighting happening in the country, they mighty give up those positions as it will drastically affect the team’s performance on international stage.