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Young bloods off to Barthes Cup 

2024-04-18  Correspondent

Young bloods off to Barthes Cup 

Rudolf Gaiseb 


A new crop of youthful rugby players is set to compete in this weekend’s U/20 Barthes Trophy Cup tournament, slated for Harare, Zimbabwe. 

The team of 28 players was yesterday sent off to the tournament by the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) in Windhoek.

Zimbabwe is hosting the prestigious men’s U/20 rugby tournament for the first time in history, taking it from traditional host Kenya.

All the games will be played at Harare Sports Club with four nations Namibia, Kenya, Tunisia and host Zimbabwe battling for honours.

Head coach of the young Namibian rugby team Allister Coetzee said the team has been preparing hard, and is ready to face the competition.

“It is the role of these young men to go to this tournament and represent the country with pride. The boys have been training hard, and we have put in everything. I am not promising any cup wins, but every time we run out to the field, we will give everything for our country; this is my guarantee,” he said.

Coetzee, who coaches the senior national team, was roped in to help the youngsters.

NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya said coupled with his excitement about the team’s participation in the tournament, he highlighted and applauded inclusivity.

“When I look at the team, I can assure you that there is a 75% transformation, compared to the 52% in 2019 in terms of inclusivity, which means this sport brings social cohesion and people together,” he said.

Mwiya added that although the senior rugby team has not managed to win any game at the Rugby World Cup despite making seven appearances, he sees a bright future for Namibian rugby – looking at the young crop of players.

“To produce a top team, is a process; it is not an overnight thing. It takes a lot of expertise, investment and resources,” he continued. Mwiya further highlighted that Namibia remains one of the countries with clean records with regards to doping in sports. According to the New Zimbabwe publication, Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Aaron Jani said his team is ready to host the competition.

“We are very ready. We have been looking forward to this tournament. We recently hosted another big tournament, Olympic Qualifiers, so based on the experience we got, we are more than prepared for this one,” said the ZRU president.

Junior Sables walks into the tournament as defending champions after winning the last two editions that were held in Kenya in 2022 and 2023.

The Namibian squad consists of:


Otja Auala, Gianluca Savoldini, Joshua Bester, Ian Klitzke, Jayden van Zyl, Armand Combrick, Edward Drotsky, Ferion Beukes, William Lottering, Mathew Quinn, JP Campbell, Arenzo Isaack, Kistings Minyoi, McHenry Kambatuka, Walter Otto and Ben Burger.


Denver Beukes, JD Roussouw, Michael Koopman, Van der Merwe Tromp, Xavier Mouton, JP van Wyk, SG Maritz, Jurgen Meyer, Liam Dick, Hendrick van Schalkwyk, Surami Kabombo and Ashton van Wyk

2024-04-18  Correspondent

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