Sports Commentary

Isack Hamata

There is a serious case to be made about how small rugby nations like Namibia are treated by the Internal Rugby Board (IRB). The IRB is the FIFA of world rugby.

Our national team has been rushed through the group matches, playing the first match on 9 September and the final one on 29 September while the other teams in our group i.e New Zealand, France, Uruguay and Italy are only concluding their group matches on the 6th October.

That is almost a full month of just playing group stage matches while the Namibian national team is already back at home watching the rest of the tournament from the TV sets.

In the Soccer World Cup, final group stage matches are all played at the same time. This is to avoid fixing but most importantly to give each team equal time to recover and prepare properly.

I repeat a question by our former Ambassador to Germany, Mr Andreas Guibeb, who earlier asked whether we “should just sit back and accept the scheduling as a fatality or as something intentionally done to the advantage of the favoured teams because they have the lobby that the poor rugby teams from the South do not have.”

Rugby is an intense game which comes along with injuries, tests the players’ fitness to the hilt and thus needs proper recover time.

Why were we rushed through the competition like step children of the IRB? Mr Guibeb further asked: “Is the welfare of our players less important than those of New Zealand, France and Italy?”

Like Mr Guibeb, I also want to know where the fairness is in the scheduling of matches.

Mr. Guibeb concludes on behalf of the entire Namibia: “We too are entitled to the same treatment. It is not fair to swim with shackles around our ankles against teams that have a larger pool of players to select from and that are better prepared because their players play all-year-round professional rugby against other equally strong teams.”

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