28 June 2013 | Sports
HECTOR MAWONGA Imagine trying to rebuild infrastructure after an earthquake has hit an area. Trying to get rid of the debris would be depressing in itself, while making sure that where you build is secure for the future is likely to make you want to give up. In essence that is the job the Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) has done with the local game over the past year, as they took a sport on the verge of descending into oblivion to one that has hope again. When the current leadership took over last year, everything -much like it had been hit by an earthquake - was in shambles. But the NRU diligently went to work on restoring confidence to the game to such an extent that Namibia's national team, the Welwitschias, now have another shot at reaching the Rugby World Cup. That was something that looked farfetched just a year ago when the team came back from a tournament in Madagascar with their tails between their legs. However, there remain challenges that the NRU must still overcome if the game is to keep up this improvement. For starters, the leadership admits that at the moment most of its funding comes from government. That is something that must change sooner rather than later. A positive sign, though, is that there are a number of companies that have made 'smaller' amounts available as sponsorship. Secondly, while the Navachab regional tournament is a grand idea, it must be marketed quite extensively to attract more numbers to these games. The NRU will get that chance to push the event when the second round of the competition kicks off in October. If they succeed in getting more fans to the stadium, it is likely that even more sponsors will step up to help the code financially. Thirdly, and perhaps more crucially, the union needs to address the political infighting within the rugby community, with some saying that there is strife between white and coloured officials. This disunity could see the hard work the NRU has put in thus far, being undone as different factions will pull in different directions - leaving the game to suffer yet again.