NAMIBIA’S place in the 2013 Vodacom Cup still hangs in the balance, according to NRU chief executive officer Sybrand de Beer.
Following the recent relatively successful Windhoek Lager Tri-Nations Rugby Series, the national squad returned to training this week for the new season, but a sponsor for their planned 2013 Vodacom Cup adventure has not yet been secured.
“We are still negotiating to find a sponsor for the Vodacom Cup. We want to be competitive and not just participate, and for this we would need a budget of N$3,9 million by mid-December to be able to confirm our participation in the Vodacom Cup,” De Beer said.
De Beer added that they would make alternative arrangements should the Vodacom Cup plan fail to materialise.
“If we fail to participate in the Vodacom Cup, we will have to arrange one-off friendly matches for the national team to prepare for the CAR 1B tournament. So far we have arranged two friendlies for next year – against the Lions on February 23 and the Carlton League team, Oostelikes, on March 2,” he said.
Nonetheless, De Beer called on the players to continue working on their own to improve their strength and conditioning.
“The players need to improve their strength and conditioning and they must start with the right attitude towards this aspect. They must eat right, not misuse alcohol and take the right supplements. It all starts with them and if they lay the right foundation, the coaching team will be able to get better results with them,” he said.
De Beer said the Tri-Nations in Windhoek was not only successful in helping Namibia prepare for the Vodacom Cup but also contributed to raising the profile of Namibian rugby, while the results were also encouraging.
“We beat the African rugby champions Zimbabwe and we narrowly lost to Spain, although we should have won that match. Both teams showed an interest to come back and we hope to make this an annual event,” he said.
“The feedback from the public and the sponsors was also very positive. The business sector took notice of the NRU and the way things are being done now, and positive feedback is being received from possible sponsors,” he added.
“It was the first time that we had hosted such a tournament in Namibia and we learnt a lot about how to host a successful tournament,” De Beer said.
According to De Beer, they succeeded in identifying a group of players for next year’s campaign, which will culminate in the Africa Group 1 B tournament, while the three-man coaching team worked well in its first tournament together.
The Namibian coaching squad consisted of head coach Danie Vermeulen, forwards specialist coach Jood Opperman and backline specialist coach Walter Donn.
“The new coaching team managed to identify a group of players for next year’s campaign, while the three-man coaching team also worked very well together,” he said.
De Beer said Opperman will unfortunately return to the national Under-19 team fold, with the result that the NRU will advertise the post for forward coach in due course.
“Jood Opperman was initially appointed just for the Tri-Nations tournament and he will now return to the national Under-19 team to help them prepare for next year’s IRB Junior World Trophy tournament along with his assistant coach Vince Dreyer. We will advertise the forwards coach position shortly,” he said.