THE chances of rugby being played in Namibia this year are slim. This according to the president of the Namibia Rugby Union, Corrie Mensah.
With Namibia now having entered stage 3 of the lockdown, any organised training of contact sports, like rugby, is still prohibited.
"We had draft programmes ready to start the club league in July, but since the announcement of stage 3, that has now fallen flat. Our recommendation was that the clubs start training on 20 June and then, after a three-week period of conditioning and training, we could start the league. We also considered having a single round instead of a double round of matches, but the longer this drags on, the more unlikely it seems we will have rugby this year," he says.
"At this stage it seems the earliest we could start playing will be at the beginning of August," he says.
Regarding the national team, Mensah says planned activities had already been cancelled.
"We were originally supposed to start with the Africa Cup against Zambia this weekend, but I received a letter from the Confederation of African Rugby last week saying this year's Africa Cup has been cancelled. I have also been informed that the SuperSport Challenge has been cancelled, so the Welwitschias will definitely not be in action this year," he says.
The chief administrator of the Namibia Sport Commission, Freddy Mwiya, earlier this week announced gyms and exercise centres may reopen under strict conditions.
Mensah says it will be problematic to adapt to the new measures.
"We will have to space out our training sessions due to social distancing, so we will probably have about four or five sessions per day.
"We normally do circuit sessions in the gym, which means all the players use the same apparatus, so they will have to clean it after each player uses it. Then we have also started sanitising at our offices and the rugby stadium while the government is doing the same at Independence Stadium, so we will still come up with a workable solution for the new challenges," he says.
Mensah says national players will continue to train on their own and to have gym sessions.
"We may have to look at using this time to flow over into the players' off-season training programme for next year. I doubt we will have a league and we may have to look at other options like holding a Sevens tournament later in the year," he says.
He says he has received no feedback from the government regarding a proposed financial assistance programme to support sport codes.
"We also haven't received anything from them. The only support we got was N$1,6 million for last year's World Cup," he says.
"I'm also not sure what we will receive from World Rugby, but I'll have a Zoom meeting with them tomorrow to discuss our budget," he says.