Namibia Needs a Big Favour

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK Namibia’s chances of qualifying for the International Rugby Board (IRB) 2007 World Cup suffered another blow on Saturday after the national team went down to Kenya by 30-26 in a qualifying match in Nairobi. Namibia, which participated in the last two World Cups, one held in France and the last edition in Australia, played below expectations and now need to pull up their socks in the remaining qualifying match. The fate of the national team is no longer in their own hands and Namibia needs a big favour from Tunisia. The national team will be praying for Tunisia to beat Kenya later this month and will themselves need to put up a good performance against Tunisia early next month. Namibia will need to beat the North Africans by a clear 17 points when they lock horns at the Hage Geingob Stadium on 7 October. Reports from Nampa indicate that the national coach of Namibia, Johan Venter, was disappointed and said that they gave the match away as the players did not play to their fullest potential. He said that it was the worst game ever, adding that the inexperience of the players was the disappointing factor. Namibia lost to Tunisia 27-7 earlier this year. In other qualifying matches Associated Press reports that Morocco moved closer to qualifying for the 2007 Rugby Union World Cup after a 5-3 victory over Uganda on Saturday. Morocco, which beat Uganda 36-3 on June 3 in Casablanca, leads Group B with nine points. Coached by former South Africa winger Chester Williams, Uganda led 3-0 after a penalty by Robert Seguya in the 31st minute. But Morocco, who have some professional players, dominated territory. El Hajji Mounem scored the only try of the match for Morocco in the second half. Uganda failed to kick three penalties and couldn’t take advantage when Morocco’s Arif Amid was sin-binned. “We failed to play well today and the better side has won,” Williams said. Morocco coach Waz Avenard said: “The team followed the game plan.” In remaining qualifying in pool 1, it’s Tunisia vs Kenya on Sept. 23 and Namibia vs Tunisia on Oct. 7. In pool 2, it’s Ivory Coast vs Uganda on Sept. 23 and Morocco vs Ivory Coast on Oct. 7. Ivory Coast played at the 1995 World Cup, while Zimbabwe was the African qualifier in the first World Cup in 1987 and in 1991. The winners of each pool will play each other, with the victor earning a World Cup berth. The loser faces a European team in a playoff. The finals will be held in France from Sept. 7 to Oct. 20 next year.

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