Welwitschias coach Chrysander Botha says his team achieved most of the goals they set themselves at the beginning of the 2023 Mzansi Challenge.
Speaking to New Era Sport recently following his side 47-29 victory over Eastern Province in Windhoek last Sunday, the former Namibian international winger said the team’s victory in the last match of the tournament was well deserved as they showed good discipline.
“We wanted a win or two over South African provincial teams. It was well deserved even though the scoreline looks convincing, it was a tough game against a tough opponent and we played some beautiful rugby,” Botha said.
He added that the team’s discipline was good as they capitalised on opportunities created on the day as compared to previous matches.
Reflecting on the whole tournament, Botha said the aim was to beat their two African rivals Zimbabwe Goshawks and Kenya Simbas.
“The other goal was to reach the semi-finals. This we could not achieve because a few results in important matches did not go our way. If you look at some results, this was attainable; we lost narrowly to the Mexican Rhinos, Border and Leopards. Opportunities were there, we learnt a lot from this,” he said.
Botha said the tournament allowed the technical team to give exposure and develop some local players who never had an opportunity to play at a higher level.
He said the local group of players were starting to buy into the development of a local brand of rugby based on the type of game the technical team insisted on.
“As soon as they got the fundamentals right, they gained confidence in the Namibian brand. They could see how the puzzle falls into place. They understood the system and executed it well, saw the importance of great teamwork and team dynamics,” he said
Botha said the longer the season went on, the better the team cohesion and the team could have even improved more.
He expressed his confidence that there will be quite several players who will get their chance to play at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France later in the year.
On the way forward, Botha said they have given the players an off week before releasing them to their local clubs next week.
“Those that are injured will be released to their teams following the play protocols. These players must go back and play for their clubs, especially the younger club players’ development. Training with Mzansi Challenge cup players will improve the young players and the club competition,” he said.
He stated they will continue monitoring the Welwitschias players after the off week, with the strength and conditioning programme set to commence next week.