NBL sponsors rugby sevens team
07 November 2018 | Sports
The team departs today for Nairobi to participate in the 22nd edition of the annual tournament, which is open to international teams, professional and amateur clubs, as well as invitational, university and school sides.
Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) president Corrie Mensah thanked the sponsor and said their decision to cover the whole trip shows the brewer is on the side of the athletes.
Mensah told the team they have an obligation to represent Namibia well and make the nation proud.
“We trust that as a team you will bring back some pride and I'm also looking forward to a great future.”
NBL managing director Wessie van der Westhuizen said the company always strives to support Namibian sport and add value to people's lives.
“There are many differences in rugby, due to a strategy implemented that needs to be followed, but those differences can be fixed,” he said, referring to the NRU and Namibia Rugby Limited (NRL) squabble over the past two months.
“When things don't go the way they should, the athletes suffer. We want to assist the NRU in this regard. It is, however, a once-off sponsorship, but we should look at sustainability,” he said.
Van der Westhuizen said the brand the players will wear is close to everyone's heart. “Go and do your best and make us proud.”
Van der Westhuizen also dealt with concerns raised by local rugby lovers regarding NBL sponsoring foreign teams.
“We have to grow our brand; to increase investment one needs to go outside the country. The profit we receive is then re-invested into Namibia. It's not because we don't want to sponsor locally, but we want to grow and invest,” he said.
The captain of the side, Aurelio Plato, said they will perform to the best of their ability.
“In the previous tournament we didn't do well, but this time around it's different,” Plato said.
Twelve teams are expected to compete in the tournament: Namibia, Deejays, Shujaa and Morans (three teams from Kenya), Spain, Portugal, the Apache Sevens and the Red Wailers (British teams), the Samurai 7s from Japan, the Cobras from South Africa and teams from Uganda and Burkina Faso.
Participating sides will use the competition as a platform for their preparations ahead of the 2018/19 World Rugby Sevens Series that will kick off in Dubai on 30 December.
Namibia's rugby sevens squad is as follows: Aurelio Plato (captain), Daniel Bock (vice-captain), Lean Stoop, Paulus Hangula, Peter Diergaardt, Dirk de Meyer, Nandivatu Karuuome, Tuna Amutenya and Carlos Stevens.
Leslie Bougaard (coach), Ryno Visagie (team manager) and Wayne Damons (physiotherapist) make up the management team.