Junior rugby on the right track - Jeffery
04 August 2020 | Sports
Unam sport officer Werner Jeffery says there is growth and transformation in junior rugby locally.
Jeffery was a spectator on Saturday, watching a friendly match between Windhoek High School and Technical High School (HTS), joyfully cheering on the young players. Jeffery revealed that his son Jaden Jeffery plays for the HTS rugby team, hence the extra motivation to attend the match.
HTS ended up losing the friendly 26-0 and when asked by Namibian Sun about his views of the current state of junior rugby Jeffery said private schools are doing much better than public schools. He said this can be attributed to the fact that private schools are known traditionally to be rugby lovers, compared to public schools which mostly excel at football.
“They (private schools) have all the means, whereas government schools are playing catch-up. HTS in particular only started pulling in a good team this year. So extra effort needs to go into developing players and attention also needs to go into the structures,” he said.
This constraint is hampering development across the country, although there is an immense pool of talent to groom.
Transformation is key
Jeffery also spoke about the successful path of transformation, and how Unam over the years managed to diversify its teams. “In 2011 we had a lot of coloured players; in 2015 many from other ethnic tribes started joining the club. We tried and continue to ensure that we create a homely and inclusive environment for the players,” added the veteran sports official.
He also spoke about transformation in the sport code, saying that it was always a problem but that young black players are getting to grips with the fact that they too can excel at the traditionally white and coloured sport.
He emphasised that it's not always about the numbers and that despite getting involved in the sport, a big part of excelling and continuing to further develop into a A-class professional players is motivated by the parents as well as the habits of junior players. “Some players are still in-between codes; some don't really take it seriously. Most (white) parents put effort into making sure that their children go the extra mile when it comes to training. More need to emulate this involvement and support off the field,” he said.
Keep your eyes on the ball
In addition, Jeffery who is always ready to groom players, said that there is a smooth transition from junior to senior levels of participation. He encouraged players to keep their eye on the ball and to stay away from habits which may shorten their participation in the beautiful game of rugby.