The head of State, Hage Geingob, officially sent off the men’s national rugby team, Welwitschias, yesterday to compete in the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France.
The Welwitschias are in Group A, alongside the host nation France, Italy, Uruguay, and powerhouse New Zealand. This marks their seventh appearance in the prestigious tournament.
The national men’s team will begin their campaign against Italy a day after the tournament commences before facing what is likely their toughest group game against the All Blacks on 15 September. They will then face the host nation, France, on the 21st of September, before playing Uruguay six days later.
Speaking at the send-off ceremony, the President praised the team for qualifying for the tournament for a record seventh time. “Congratulations on qualifying, and qualifying is no small feat. By competing against teams in Africa, except for South Africa, you’ve earned the second spot on the continent behind the Springboks. This is a remarkable achievement. You’re heading there because you’ve earned it, so congratulations again. Moreover, your seventh qualification places Namibia alongside only South Africa as representatives from our continent—a significant accomplishment,” he said.
Addressing expectations, he acknowledged that Namibia is grouped with some of the strongest teams on the planet. He agreed that it’s a challenging group, often referred to as the “group of death,” but he also believes that their team has the potential to upset one of the teams and secure a victory.
“I understand that the team is in a ‘group of death,’ facing New Zealand, a team known for its dominance. However, I believe that to play against the best, you have to be your best as well. I have confidence that the team is well-prepared for this tournament, and in the world of sports, anything can happen. Miracles are possible, and I have faith in the team. Go to the World Cup and enjoy yourselves. You’ve already accomplished a tremendous feat by qualifying,” added the head of State.