WINDHOEK – Come tomorrow afternoon, Namibia’s senior rugby team, the Welwitschias, will be some 80-minutes away from securing their place at next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, but only if they can manage to tame a pacey and resilient Kenya tomorrow at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek (16h00).
Namibia, who are currently leading the six-team Africa Gold Cup/World Cup qualifiers log table with 20 points, are seated four points ahead of Kenya (17 points) with a superior points difference heading into tomorrow’s decisive match.
If push comes to shove and an expected decent victory for Namibia proves unwilling to come by, a possible bonus point for the Namibians will also see the Welwitschias retain the coveted Rugby Africa Gold Cup title and subsequently qualify for next year’s World Cup, pitting them against reigning world champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and the repechage winner in Pool B.
Although tomorrow’s encounter is a do-or-die match in every sense of the word, all hope will not be lost so the loser as they will still remain in contention for qualification, but will need to win November’s repechage matches in Marseille, France where they will meet Canada, Hong Kong and Germany.
The Namibian squad was announced this week and veteran campaigner Johan Deysel will captain the Welwitschias as they go for the jugular against the equally unpredictable East Africans in perhaps the most important match of the Africa Gold Cup tournament this weekend.
“The boys have prepared well so far and are really looking forward to the challenge of Kenya,” said head coach Phil Davis, who called on all Namibians to come out in huge numbers and rally behind the team.
Namibian squad to face Kenya tomorrow: Viviers Casper; Van der Westhuizen Louis; Coetzee Johannes; Tjeriko Mahepisa; Uanivi Tjiuee; Conradie Wian; Venter Janco; Van Lill Pieter-Jan (Vice-captain); Jantjies Eugene; Loubser Cliven; Greyling JC; De la Harpe Darryl; Deysel Johan (Captain); Tromp Johann; Botha Chrysander; Nortje Orbert; De Klerk AJ; Theron Nelius; Katjijeko Max; Booysen Adriaan; Stevens Damian; Steenkamp PW and Newman Justin.