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NRU and the issue of diversity

Mon, 14 September 2015 23:58
by Andreas Kathindi

Two weeks ago, the South African rugby team came under scrutiny when the political party, Agency for a New Agenda (ANA), launched a court application to prevent the Springboks from participating at this month’s World Cup. 

Part of ANA’s reasoning was that although the South African rugby team had achieved much success over 21 years, there was still no transformation within the system. 

The majority of the team is still white, which is not an accurate representation of South Africa. They felt that some within the system continue to resist the calls for change, and accused them of discrimination. 

The issue struck Namibia hard because it was a little too close to home for comfort. 

As our very own Welwitschias prepare to take part in another World Cup in England this month in hopes of attaining their first-ever win at a World Cup tournament, one cannot help but notice the sheer lack of diversity within the team. 

Of course, one may argue that the same can be said of the Brave Warriors, who also do not have white football representatives in the squad. But I think the two scenarios are very different. 

Without trying to incite anyone’s wrath, after all, my words are not fact but merely my observation, as I’m sure you have yours…I would argue that there is very little interest from the white community in football. Not that there is none at all, but I would say very little. 

Unlike in England and even South Africa where one would have to have gone through thousands of hours at youth level before even thinking of making a first-team debut, in Namibia it is a bit more lenient. 

It is quite possible to see a player without an extensive history within the Academy system making a Premier League start. If they are given a trial with the squad and impress and continue to work hard enough, they will get their chance. 

However, the lower leagues, much like the national set-up, is full of black players. 

And although the Brave Warriors could do a bit better to have wider representation, you cannot fault them because players are just not interested in coming through the proper channels. 

However, with rugby, it is a little different. 

If you take a swift glance at the Namibian Rugby Premier League and some of the lower leagues, you will realise that there are way more black rugby players than the national set-up lets on.

Interest is clearly there, but for whatever reason, they are just not making the step up. 

The Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) has spoken of its legacy programme beyond this World Cup, and its preparation for the 2019 World Cup. 

Once can only hope that adding diversity to the team is also part of those plans. 

However, I don’t think having a quota of a certain number of racial representation is the way to go. 

Naturally, players should be selected based on performance and quality, but it cannot be possible that they all just happen to be mostly one colour.