Suburbs gear up for Gold Cup clash… Khomasdalers aim to hit the ground running

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-They may have been included in the lucrative South African provincial tourney by default following the much debated grounding of three-time Namibian rugby champions UNAM, but debutants Western Suburbs are ready to ruffle feathers.

The Khomasdal outfit opens their assault in the prestigious South African Provincial Club Championship, the Gold Cup, against the visiting Go Nuts College Rovers at Suburbs Park on Saturday.

Suburbs have been drafted to represent Namibia in the prestigious club tourney featuring South African Provincial club champions against the champions of both Namibia and Zimbabwe in the mini-league format tourney.

The Khomasdalers will compete in Group D alongside the winners from Western Province representatives IMT Sinshen Boland champions, with Rovers completing the four-team lineup.

Wanderers represented Namibia in the club championship last season in a whirlwind campaign that was overshadowed by Theo ‘Kwaaitjie’ Coetzee’s much condemned racial slur after the Wanderers flanker referred to his opposite number, Patrick Mulumba, as “Swart Bobbejaan” (black baboon) in his native Afrikaans.

The racial incident left the short-fused Kwaaitjie with a ban from all forms of rugby after his club Wanderers hauled the offender before a disciplinary committee, where he was found guilty of having brought the club into disrepute and subsequently sanctioned.

However, the country’s presiding rugby body, the National Rugby Union (NRU), has resolved to turn a blind eye to the unfolding racial saga and is yet to pronounce itself on the ugly debacle against the background of vehement protests from the highest authorities that saw the influential Swapo Youth League (SPYL) and the National Sports Commission voice their dismay and displeasure over the incident.

Triple Namibian champions UNAM are sadly deemed ineligible to partake in the Gold Cup, as the competition’s rules do not make provision for university entrants – thus obliging the students to forfeit their right to represent Namibia at the prestigious club tournament.

Suburbs finished runners-up behind runway league winners UNAM last season – hence their installment as Namibia’s legitimate representatives in this tourney.

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