Unam in limbo over Gold Cup participation

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-With three rounds of matches already under the belt, the country’s rugby presiding body, the Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) is yet to clarify its position on the status of undisputed Namibian champions, the University of Namibia Rugby Club (Unam RC).

The reigning Namibian champions were deprived of an ideal opportunity to represent their native country in the newly introduced South African Provincial Club Championships, the Gold Cup, on a gross technicality.

The competition rules do not make provision for the participation of varsity teams, but local rugby pundits felt Unam RC were hard done and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the NRU for its apparent failure to adequately advocate the students’ case.

While South Africa has well defined structures catering for universities and tertiary institutions leagues, Namibia simply does not have a separate league for tertiary institutions.

Rugby critics opine that the hierarchy at Lichtenstein Strasse has systematically or rather deliberately misled the competition’s organisers about Namibia’s precarious situation in an effort to pave the way for their preferred candidates, Wanderers Rugby Club, to enter the prized provincial tourney through the backdoor.

Officials from Unam RC are still awaiting with baited breath to hear whether they will be able to take their rightful place in this year’s competition or not.

“We held discussions with the union regarding the issue, but are yet to receive a concrete response to our dilemma. It looks like there’s some kind of foot dragging, aided by deliberately attempts to derail our participation in the tournament,” said a source close to the Clever Boys, who requested that his identity be withheld.

Meanwhile, the NRU is yet to pronounce itself over the much-trumpeted racial spat involving a Wanderers player, one Theo ‘Kwaaikie’ Coetzee, after the latter apparently unleashed a barrage of unprintable words towards a dark-skinned South African opponent in a Gold Cup rugby match in Windhoek last year.

Coetzee was charged and subsequently found guilty of violent behaviour after he called his opposite number, Patrick Mulamba, ‘n swart bobbejaan’ in his native Afrikaans (a black baboon).

Although the ‘White Stallions’ grounded the foulmouthed Kwaaikie for an entire year from all forms of rugby the NRU is yet to raise a finger, despite repeated calls from the influential Swapo Youth League and the National Sports Commission for the union to investigate the allegations of racial abuse.

Local rugby critic Keith Allies last week blasted the NRU for its controversial stance, or rather, unexplained reluctance to charge Coetzee accordingly and impose sanctions, adding that the NRU’s silence can be interpreted as condoning the deed.

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