Rugby league booked for April

LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

The single round of the Namibia Rugby League is set to kick off on 10 April, with finals expected to be played on 17 June.

The First Division Rugby League will start at the same time, with the semi-finals slated for 29 May and the final for 12 June. The women’s league will also be played at the same time, even though not many clubs have signed up.

Money woes

All of this planning took time to get off the ground, with leading premier league clubs such as Unam Rugby paying their registration of N$1 000 late (the first-division teams pay a registration of N$600), even though they received ample notification to register for the season and to get the teams on the pitch to start training, said organisers.

Chaotic delays

According to the president of the Namibia Rugby Union, Corrie Mensah, this type of delay causes chaos and makes a mockery of the constitution and regulations.

“Some clubs think they can pay when they want, without realising that there should always be discipline and adherence to the rules put in place.

Some of these clubs have individual sponsorship agreements with the likes of the First National Bank of Namibia, but couldn’t even pay registration.

“We had to give them more time to pay, after looking at the standing they have with the rugby union. On the initial deadline, we only had five clubs which paid their fees.”

Women’s game should be included

Mensah further added that on the second deadline the number went up to about 12 clubs.

“Now we have about 18 clubs. Clubs need to remember that if you don’t register, you lose privileges.

The NRU was later accused of wanting to leave out some clubs. How can we leave out clubs knowing very well that we have a very small population and thus a small group of players to pick from?” asked Mensah.

He said clubs have been implored to include female rugby players, as the rugby union is getting development funds from World Rugby to aid the women’s game.

He said although the league will start, there are still many hurdles to overcome.

“Covid-19 has made things really difficult. And this is one thing we will again address to World Rugby. We will not be allowing any spectators, which means no gate takings or extra money from selling drinks or food at the field. We have a scenario where we need to test players for Covid and to sanitise the fields.

“All in all, it’s very expensive to play rugby during these times. We have a meeting with them next week and these are some of the issues we will touch on as they gave us a very limited budget to work with,” he explained.