THE Namibia Rugby Union could forfeit more than N$5 million in High Performance grants from the International Rugby Union (IRB) if it does not qualify for the next Rugby World Cup in 2015. This was confirmed by the NRU’s CEO Sybrand de Beer following a visit by the IRB’s head of performance and development, Mark Egan, to Namibia over the weekend.
Namibia currently receives an annual High Performance grant of 80 000 Euro from the IRB, while it will receive an additional 450 000 Euro if it qualifies for Rugby World Cup 2015. Since Namibia was demoted to the Africa 1B category last year, however, their path to the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be extremely difficult.
Namibia will have to win Division 1B of the African World Cup qualifiers next year to gain promotion to Division 1A, and then they will also have to win that in 2014 to qualify for the World Cup.
Namibia were demoted to Division 1B after failing to participate in the African Cup competition last year. In August this year, Madagascar caused a huge upset when they beat Namibia 57-54 in the final of the 1B Division in Antananarivo.
Egan said he had been brought up to date about the NRU’s new plans, and he would submit the NRU’s new budget proposal to the IRB for approval.
“Namibia’s High Performance programme is entering a new phase, because we are going into a new cycle now, so we will be going to our executive committee for approval for the new funding in November.”
Egan warned that failure to qualify for the 2015 World Cup could cost Namibia dearly.
“In terms of our High Performance funding, Namibia have regularly qualified for the World Cup and they are traditionally a strong team in Africa. We know there’s a good player base here and there’s great potential here. So it wouldn’t be a case of us totally withdrawing our support, but if they don’t qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup then we will have to review exactly what we are doing, because there would be another African country that will qualify in their place and they would need some support,” he said.
IMPRESSED WITH NRU
Egan said he was impressed by the NRU’s new management under the leadership of president Bradley Basson.
“Our working relationship with the new NRU is very positive at the moment and I must say we are very impressed with the new governance structures that have been put in place and the new policies that have been adopted by the board under Bradley Basson. I have also met the new CEO Sybrand de Beer and he has got good management experience so there is definitely a higher level of operational management expertise in the NRU at the moment and we are certainly seeing the results of that,” he said.
“There is still a long way to go for the NRU to get back on its feet but we are seeing some positive progress,” he concluded.
De Beer meanwhile called on the Namibian private sector to assist the NRU in its plans to host an international rugby tournament in Windhoek next month.
Namibia will host a Four Nations tournament that will include Spain, Zimbabwe and the South African Barbarians and according to De Beer they needed to raise about N$800 000 to successfully host the tournament.
“The IRB will pay for their flights, but we will have to accommodate the teams while we will also have to fly in our foreign based professional players for the tournament. We are in negotiations with potential sponsors but I’d like to call on the Namibian private sector to come on board and join forces with Namibian rugby,” he said.
De Beer said it was very important that Namibia hosted a successful Four Nations tournament because this would help them a lot in their quest to qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“If we host a successful tournament it will help our chances very much because then our chances will be so much greater to host next year’s African Division 1B tournament. If we can do that, we will have home ground advantage, and our chances of qualification will be much better,” he said.
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