We are the underdogs, why fear? – Geingob … tells Welwitschias to go out and compete
WINDHOEK – In his send-off message, President Hage Geingob yesterday brushed off insinuations that Namibia’s senior rugby fifteen, the Welwitschias, stand no chance at the 2019 Rugby World Cup as they were thrown into a lion’s den in Pool B of the global showpiece in Japan.
Namibia is in Pool B of the World Cup alongside defending champions New Zealand, former winners South Africa, Canada and Italy – a draw that saw many international rugby pundits gauging Namibia’s chances at the tournament at little to none.
But Geingob yesterday quashed such annotations by the naysayers, saying the Welwitschias being the underdogs at the World Cup they will thus be under no pressure to prove themselves otherwise to the world or whatsoever, but can rather focus on playing great courageous rugby that epitomises the true spirit of Namibia. The World Cup starts on September 20 in Japan.
President Geingob bade farewell to the national senior rugby side yesterday at State House in the capital, where the Head of State showered the World Cup-bound squad with words of encouragement and a humorous war talk. The team leaves tomorrow for Japan.
“I hear people saying we stand no chance against the big countries such as defending champions New Zealand, South Africa and others in our group, but let me remind you that in order to be the best, we have to be prepared to beat the best. I mean they [the big teams] are the ones who are under pressure not us, so let’s go out there and enjoy ourselves. We qualified and that means we rank among the best in the world and we remain the second best in Africa behind our neighbours South Africa, so we have a lot to be proud of as a nation going to the World Cup. This is our sixth time at the World Cup and they have put us in a very tough group starting with our first match against Italy, but we are warriors, let’s go out there and fight,” said an upbeat Geingob, who also urged the players to be great ambassadors of the country on and off the field.
President of the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) Corrie Mensah assured the Head of State and the nation that the players are ready and well prepared to go and compete rather than just participate.
“We have selected a very young team for this World Cup. We also achieved our transformation goals of having a 50-50 balance between people of colour and the previously advantaged. The spirit in camp is high and we are going into this war to do the country proud,” he said.
Namibia face Italy in their opening match on September 22.
The team will thereafter play South Africa on September 28 before facing defending champions and favourites New Zealand on October 6. They conclude their group stage matches against Canada on October 13.
2019-09-11 09:12:15 12 days ago