Coetzee geared up for the task

By Michael Uugwanga

WELWITSCHIAS coach Allister Coetzee this week opened up to Confidente Sport about his coaching job and taking on Namibian rugby.

Coetzee was appointed Welwitschias coach some two months ago with the aim to qualify the country to its seventh successive World Cup  – the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be staged in France.

Coetzee, a South African trainer who previously coached South Africa’s men senior team, the Springboks is a teacher by profession.

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This week he sat down with Confidente Sport to talk about why he chose rugby and the Welwitschias job.

“I was a teacher for more than 20 years before I went into coaching fulltime. I also played rugby. My father (Phillip Andrew Coetzee) also played rugby although he died when I was like 10 years at the time in 1974.

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I played for the junior Springboks in 1992. What motivated me to go in coaching is the passion that I have for rugby.

“My wife Diane is also a teacher by profession. I have two daughters (Melissa and Meriska) and two granddaughters. Teaching really taught me a lot. Coaching is part of teaching that is why I chose rugby as the two are similar.

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Coetzee cemented his legacy when he coached one of South Africa’s top rugby clubs, DHL Western Province between 2008 and 2015 notably in the Currie Cup.

“I have won two Currie Cups with DHL Western Province even though we have been in five finals of the Currie Cup (sic),” he said.

The former Springboks mentor is arguably in one of his biggest coaching tests and that is to coach Namibia that is still in search of its first ever Rugby World Cup win, despite having been at World Cup in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.

Coetzee took on the Welwitschias job that became vacant after the 2019 World Cup following the surprise departure of Welsh trainer Phil Davies who decided not to renew his contract with the team due to personal reasons.

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“I did apply for the Welwitschias job because it was appealing for me. The Welwitschias have always been one of those teams in Africa besides the Springboks to have lots of potential to do well plus I had a good relationship with the Namibia Rugby Union during my playing days.

“The Welwitschias job suits me very well. First we need to qualify to the World Cup. The World Cup qualifiers are next year,” said Coetzee.

The coach could however not say what his next move would be after the 2023 World Cup.

“I am one of those coaches that do not plan for a job far ahead. As I have said we first have to qualify to the World Cup.  I cannot say where I will be after the World Cup if we qualify. My focus is only on next year’s qualification,” said Coetzee.