Windhoek – The leadership of the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) is still at loggerheads with the headship of its commercial and operations entity, Namibia Rugby (Pty) Ltd, which the union feels operates in isolation and many a time undermines the mandate of the NRU.
At a press conference in the capital yesterday, executive members of the NRU again expressed their dissatisfaction with the manner in which Namibia Rugby (Pty) Ltd, a company that was created early this year to oversee the commercial and operational activities of the union, goes about its daily doings.
A few weeks ago, NRU took a drastic step when they severed their working relationship with Namibia Rugby (Pty) Ltd and its board members, claiming that the company continued to undermine NRU’s mandate and was in a habit of taking serious strategic and policy decisions [without] the blessings of the union, which is the custodian of rugby in Namibia.
The NRU’s move to cut ties with its entity was however met with resistance by the entity’s board, which then led to the intervention of the line ministry a few days ago.
The minister advised the two bodies to work together towards harmonising their relationship and further called in the NRU to rekindle its working relationship with its commercial and operations arm for the sake of the players and the country at large, considering that Namibia is in preparation for next year’s World Cup in Japan.
NRU and Namibia Rugby (Pty) Ltd were given about 30 days by the line ministry to mend their relationship and find common ground to their challenges, starting by drafting clear guidelines and laws separating the mandates and functions of the two organs as both cannot be autonomous.
Another bone of contention raised at yesterday’s gathering was the appointment of former national team mentor Johan Diergaardt as head coach by the NRU for the squad that was to represent the country at this year’ Currie Cup but challenged Diergaardt’s appointment as they felt he was not qualified enough to run a World Rugby High Performance Pathway Programme, which Namibia subscribes to.
The two entities’ heated disagreement over Diergaardt’s appointment led to Namibia’s embarrassing withdrawal from the 2018 Currie Cup competition because of differences as to who should be head coach of the country’s Currie Cup side.
Namibia Rugby Ltd (Pty) had earlier appointed JP Nel as head coach of the Currie Cup team through the blessings of World Rugby, following the departure of Welsh native Lyn Jones, while on the other hand the NRU leadership appointed Diergaardt on top of Nel.
As it stands, Nel appears the suitable candidate to head the Currie Cup team, as he has been part of the High Performance Pathway Programme, which Diergaardt is said not to have been part of despite his highly impressive CV and wealth of experience.
Yesterday, a defiant NRU President Corrie Mensah refused to bow and further insisted that Diergaardt remains the best man for the job, as his CV and experience spoke volumes and that the NRU will accept nothing less than the endorsement of Diergaardt as head coach.
“That’s nonsense, he (Diergaardt) is the best qualified rugby coach in the entire country and boasts world cup experience having coached Namibia at the 2011 finals in England, so what more does one need. He is the man for the job,” insisted Mensah.