Clearly fed up with the ongoing shenanigans in the corridors of Lichtenstein Strasse, Namibia’s leading rugby players have issued a strong worded statement in which they expressed dismay over the internal wrangles.
In recent weeks, Namibian rugby has been embroiled in an ugly spat between the country’s rugby governing body, the National Rugby Union (NRU) and the senior rugby team mentor, Danie Vermeulen.
The players categorically distanced themselves from the seemingly unending internal controversy amongst coaching and administrative staff that has been dominating the headlines lately.
“We, as national team players, are not involved and not siding with the opinions of any of the individuals at the centre of the dispute. We would like to focus on the day-to-day realities of playing rugby at a national level in Namibia.
Namibia will be making their 5th consecutive appearance at the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Cup in September this year and are amongst the nations with the least resources, including direct income and sponsorships.
A significant chunk of the squad members are athletes holding fulltime jobs with other responsibilities and families to take care of. Despite these challenges, the players steered Namibia to the finals of the global showpiece.
Rugby remains our passion and representing our country is a life-long dream. This is a dream that comes along with dedication, discomfort and hard work.
We will not lose perspective in the heat of all the dramas of the last couple of weeks played out on the green table in boardrooms.
It says the current squad is dedicated to the vision for rugby and also committed to themselves and the task at hand.
Underlining their loyalty, locally based players have been hard at training doing early mornings sessions in the freezing weather conditions before dashing to work only to continue in the afternoons.
Furthermore, the players are sacrificing their weekends and would often take weeks of unpaid leave to travel while professional players are willing to return home to represent their native land.
As it stands, there seem to be hard sacrifices at work and on personal level for every player in the squad as a result of hard work, sacrifice, dedication and commitment.
“We believe that’s why now, like always, Namibian rugby supporters will back our players, regardless of their sentiments on the issues in this controversy and while at administrative level, we are unmistakably going through a tough time, but let’s remember the final countdown to the World Cup is on NOW. Effectively, slightly over 2 months left to prepare
“Please be there for our squad, we as players are putting our hearts in the BIG games coming up, including the tie against New Zealand, the most formidable opponent in world rugby. At the World Cup, we will be playing for Namibia, our country and all it’s people,” concludes the statement.