Rugby gears up for Currie Cup, despite widespread club boycott…coach Jones promises to turn Namibia’s fortunes in Currie Cup

Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek – All the traumas of the last couple of months will be temporarily put aside as the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) gears up for a much a much more improved showing at this year’s Currie Cup competition.

The Namibian amateurs were finding the going tough in the highly competitive South African Provincial second tier rugby competition last year and newly appointed mentor Lyn Jones is optimistic that the relatively young and inexperienced Welwitschias will be better placed this time around to mount a serious challenge for the prestigious tourney.

The under strength rusty Welwitschias dismally failed to claim a single victory in all their matches in the Currie Cup B division last term – rendering them the laughing stock of the highly rated South African Provincial Cup competition that pits that country’s second best players against each other.

Namibian rugby has been thrown into turmoil after the majority of clubs downed tools in protest of the NRU ‘s reluctance or rather systematic refusal to listen to their grievances.

The nine (9) aggrieved clubs cited a number of the unpleasantness accusing the union of maladministration and constant failure to adhere to its own constitution.

In a desperate bid to force the NRU’s hand, the aggrieved clubs resolved to withdraw their affiliation or rather participation from all rugby activities under the auspices of the embattled union but made it categorically clear that they will retain their membership.

Their threats appeared to have fallen on deaf ears and to worsen matters, the defiant union went ahead calling players from the aggrieved clubs to report for national trials without obtaining permission from the employers of the said players who are legally contracted to their respective clubs.

The aggrieved clubs filed an official complaint with the cou8ntry’s presiding sports body, the National Sports Commission (NSC) but the latter has been dragging its feet in getting the matter sorted out. The issue was referred to the parliamentary whereupon the it was referred back to the NSC with recommendations.

The Committee under the stewardship of well-known sports administrator, the astute Lydia Kandetu, studied the grievances and resolved that there was indeed a case to answer from the NRU.

It recommended that NSC appoint local legal guru Norman Tjombe to summon the two parties around the table talks in an effort to reach an amicable solution to this burning issue that threatens to derail the overall progress of domestic rugby if not properly addressed.

Sources close to the NSC revealed to New Era Sports that the serial lack of sufficient funds to compensate Tjombe’s legal service is stalling the process.

In the meantime, newly appointed head coach Lyn Jones remains unfazed by the off the field politics and has knuckled down to some serious business taking his charges through their paces.

The clearly confident Welshman in an interview with an Afrikaans daily the Republikein, says there are many ways to kill a cat and believes he has assembled a team good enough to compete at the highest level adding that this is not the first time in his rugby career to be faced with off the field hiccups.

Jones reckons the mere participation in such a highly competitive tourney will only augurs well for the benefit and ultimate development of young inexperienced players as it would place them in good transition for senior rugby.

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