South Africa’s Springboks won the inaugural Trustco Sevens Rugby Tournament at the end of September after a comfortable victory against Zimbabwe in the final, but the accolades went to Namibia – both on and off the field.
By announcing an investment of N$18 million over six years for the tournament, Trustco Namibia managed to attract some of the world’s top Sevens teams like South Africa, Fiji, Samoa and Argentina and gave a major boost to the sport code in the country and Africa in general.
Namibia’s performance on the field was also outstanding as they progressed to the Plate final where they beat Samoa 24-14 with a brilliant performance. Namibia’s victory against a Sevens powerhouse like Samoa, has made people take notice and the chances are now good that Namibia will be included on the international Sevens circuit.
Meanwhile, the local rugby club scene reaches its climax in October when United take on Rehoboth in the MTC Premier League final.
In the semifinals, United comfortably beat Kudus, but Rehoboth had to fight till the end to beat the defending champions Western Suburbs in a thrilling match.
Rehoboth’s victory set off wild celebrations amongst their players and fans since they reached the final for the first time in their history, but they will need a huge effort to beat United, who will start the match as firm favourites.
In football, the MTC Premiership got off to a surprising start as newly promoted Blue Waters went to the top of the log after winning their opening three matches.
No one had given them much of a hope in the top flight, but Lucky Shipanga’s charges started like a house on fire with an emphatic 4-0 victory against Oshakati City. Subsequent victories against Ramblers and Hotspurs put them two points clear at the top of the log and once again emphasised how tough the Namibian Premiership has become – no teams can be taken for granted anymore. Other teams who have been in fine early season form include Tigers, under new coach Brian Isaacs, SKW, Black Africa and defending champions African Stars.
Civics, who dominated the league just three seasons ago, got off to a poor start picking up only one point in their opening three matches, while Oshakati City are clearly struggling, still in search of a point. But it’s still early days and many more shocks and surprises still lie in store.
The Brave Warriors came down to earth with a bump after being held to a 1-all draw by Swaziland last month. They gave a great performance in the first half, running the Swazis ragged with their incisive attacks, but Namibia’s strikers had an off day and missed several golden chances. The draw, against a team ranked 30 places below Namibia, could also detrimentally affect Namibia’s FIFA ranking, which in September reached 101 in the world – Namibia’s highest ranking in a decade.
But although the Brave Warriors came in for criticism from the local media for not winning the match, it is clear that coach Tom Saintfiet is building a formidable squad, which will be ready when qualifiers for the 2012 African Cup of Nations start next year.
There is a lot more to read in the October issue of Namibia Sport, ranging from Ali Nuumbembe’s victory against South Africa’s Samuel Malinga to claim the WBO African welterweight title; Graham Snyman and the men’s Fours team’s gold medals at the African States Bowls tournament; Unam’s amazing winning streak of nine victories in ten years in Namibia’s Premier Hockey League; and Okahandja Beauties’ continuing dominance in the women’s national football club championships.
With the MTC Premiership having started again, remember to participate in our MTC Player of the Month competition by voting for your favourite players.
And for daily updates – news, reviews, match reports, log updates and up to the minute scores, go to our website at www.namibiasport.com.na Everyone’s trying to jump onto the SMS and Mobi services bandwagon, but we are still first with the news and intend to remain that way.