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Home / We will have to be at our utmost best – Coetzee…as Welwitschias face Sables today

We will have to be at our utmost best – Coetzee…as Welwitschias face Sables today

2022-07-06  Otniel Hembapu

We will have to be at our utmost best – Coetzee…as Welwitschias face Sables today
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Being at their utmost best, avoiding schoolboy-errors and remaining consistent in applying pressure in all facets of the game, will be some of the most important ingredients Namibia will need to have if they are to overcome the unpredictable Sables of Zimbabwe, the Welwitschias’ veteran mentor Allister Coetzee has said. 

Speaking to this publication yesterday, a determined Coetzee took little time to bask in the glory of last Friday’s 71-5 emphatic quarterfinals win over Burkina Faso, saying today’s semi-finals clash against an equally dangerous Zimbabwean side is now his focus. 

Namibia and Zimbabwe will today square off in the semi-finals of the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup at Stade Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence, France, which will also see Kenya taking on Algeria in the other semi-final after the two nations won their quarterfinal matches against Uganda and Senegal, respectively.

The Sables booked their place in the last four after defeating Ivory Coast 38-11 in their quarterfinal clash.

Unlike the Burkina Faso match, Coetzee yesterday admitted that today’s encounter against the Sables will be a mammoth test of character for the Welwitschias and it therefore calls for a different approach. 

“Preparations have gone really well these past few days; the players have been responding very well and that makes one quite happy with how things are going. Tomorrow (today) we will face a totally different opponent when compared to the one we faced last Friday, so we have to be better prepared and on high alert. The Zimbabwean side we will be facing is quite strong and they have been preparing together for over four months now, and that obviously gives them an advantage in terms of overall readiness.”

“For us, that means we can’t afford to make errors; we have to make sure we get the basics right. We will have to be at our ultimate best and apply pressure throughout, which will eventually result in scoreboard points. That’s very important,” said Coetzee. 

“Zimbabwe is a very physical side, so we have to be very disciplined and remain organised at our lineouts and at the scrums. We should also avoid giving away soft penalties. If we are going to win this one, we will have to take all our chances and do the small things right.”

The winners of the two semi-finals will meet in the final scheduled for Sunday, 10 July, when the winner will take their place in Pool A at next year’s Rugby World Cup, alongside France, New Zealand, Italy and Uruguay. The runners-up will head into the Final Qualification Tournament.

The Welwitschias have dominated past meetings between the two teams.

Namibia won the last clash against Zimbabwe in November last year (41-10) in the Stellenbosch Challenge played in South Africa.

Zimbabwe last beat Namibia in July 2001 when they triumphed 27-26 in an African Championship fixture played at Hartsfield Rugby Ground.

The Sables have only triumphed three times against the Namibians in 33 matches, which means they have an uphill task ahead of them tomorrow.

However, Zimbabwe will be buoyed by their preparations ahead of the Rugby Africa Cup, which saw them competing in the Currie Cup in South Africa, while they recently registered a big win against higher-ranked Netherlands.

- ohembapu@nepc.com.na


2022-07-06  Otniel Hembapu

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