Welwitschias and Brave Warriors super Sunday

Michael Uugwanga

LET us rally behind our two national teams that will be involved in two different competitions this Sunday, starting off with the senior men rugby team, the Welwitschias, that will kick off their 2019 World Cup campaign against Italy, while the Brave Warriors will play Madagascar also on Sunday in the first leg of their 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier away to Madagascar.

For the past five editions at the global showpiece, the Welwitschias have failed to record a single win but their good showing and determination did not go unnoticed and who can forget their match against the All Blacks at the 2015 World Cup, with Namibia scoring a beautiful try against the best rugby nation, New Zealand, thanks to Johan Deysel.

The match against the world’s rugby powerhouse, the All Blacks, was an improvement for Namibia, who at the 2003 World Cup was at the receiving end of a 140-0 defeat to Australia and two successive 80-0 defeats to South Africa and Wales at the 2011 World Cup.

The only match that Namibia came within touching distance of winning and its World Cup scoring record was a narrow 17-16 loss to Georgia in a group match at the 2015 tournament.

In the 2019 Rugby World Cup Namibia will face New Zealand and South Africa once again, while Canada is another opponent which every Namibian player and fan will be looking to as a match that Namibia is expected to win. Canada is ranked 23rd in the world to Namibia in 22nd place, according to World Rugby.

The Welwitschias consist of young and experienced players who have been at the showpiece before with the likes of Tjiuee Uanivi, one of the standout players against the All Blacks, the evergreen Eugene Jantjies, who is going for his fifth straight World Cup appearance, Damien Stevens who was aged 21 at the 2015 World Cup and played three matches, with two from the bench.

Cliven Loubser is another exciting prospect that will be needed when it comes to penalties and conversions. Another player that could pose a big threat to opposing teams is the ever full of running Lesley Klim.

Meanwhile, for football lovers the Brave Warriors will go-to-toe against the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarter-finalist Madagascar, who will head into the match as favourites. Namibia will be seeking a second successive appearance at the CHAN tournament after tasting their first appearance last year when they reached the quarter-final, losing to then host nation Morocco.

The Brave Warriors will head into the Madagascar match full of confidence after beating Comoros Island in the first round and following it up with victory against Eritrea in the preliminary rounds of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

For Namibia, such exciting matches could not come on a better day than this, what I call a Super Sunday.

It will be therefore encouraging for Namibians to wear their Welwitschias or Brave Warriors kits starting today as a sign of showing their support towards the two national teams. Irrespective of the outcome, we should continue to support the boys, even if we are not at the games in person.

Good luck to the boys in Japan and in Madagascar.