Namibia’s senior rugby 15 head coach Allister Coetzee said they will methodically approach today’s clash against Burkina Faso in the Rugby Africa Cup quarterfinals, where a lot of emphasis will be placed on getting the basics right.
The match at Stade Pierre Delort in Marseille, France is one of the quarterfinal clashes of the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup, which will also see Zimbabwe taking on Ivory Coast, Senegal facing Algeria, and Kenya confronting Uganda.
This competition also doubles up as the continent’s qualifying tournament for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Speaking to New Era Sport yesterday from the Welwitschias’ Marseille base, Coetzee expressed contentment with the team’s readiness and overall match fitness, saying they will approach today’s match with some level of wariness to avoid being pushed into a situation where they put the cart before the horse.
“We have selected a very strong and competitive team that I believe can compete at this level. I’m confident that we have the experience and talent in the current squad to continue the good work we have done so far. Preparations have gone well and the boys and I are under no illusion to underestimate our opponents. We will stick to our game plan and set our own benchmark against Burkina Faso,” said Coetzee, who was appointed Welwitschias’ gaffer in June last year.
“I have told the boys not to focus too much on what our opponents can do or are capable of, but it should rather be all about us and what we want to achieve as a team. I always say when you execute the plan to the best of your ability and make sure that you get the basics right, the results will always take care of it themselves. So, I’m really happy with how the team have grown and improved over the last couple of weeks. We will go out there and do our best.”
Qualification to next year’s World Cup for African teams began with a round-robin repechage tournament between Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Burundi (the
three lowest ranked teams at the time in Africa). As winner, Burkina Faso advanced to the next round - Africa Cup 2021.
The second stage saw the remaining 12 teams divided into four groups of three, where they played a single round-robin tournament to decide the pool winners. The top-two teams from each pool after that round then progressed to the final stage of the African qualification process, with seeding determining the teams that will play in the Africa Cup this year.
The 2022 Africa Cup will act as the third and final round of the African qualification process, whereby the winner will directly qualify to next year’s World Cup as Africa 1. The runner-up will advance to the Final Qualification Tournament as Africa 2. This stage will begin with this weekend’s four quarterfinals, followed by semifinals and culminating in a final.