Welwitschias off to Japan for Rugby World Cup to face All Blacks, Springboks, Italy and Canada
“We are the people from the Land of the Brave, we are the Welwitschias,” said the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Hon Agnes Tjongarero when she wished the Namibian national rugby team godspeed shortly before their departure for Japan to play in the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
Event host, the Ambassador of Japan, HE Hideaki Harada, also conveyed his best wishes, telling the team that he is convinced that the indomitable Namibian spirit will help them overcome obstacles despite playing in a very tough pool. Somewhere during the World Cup, the Namibian team will have to face the All Blacks and the Springboks, a daunting challenge for any national rugby team anywhere in the world. The other two teams in the pool are Italy and Canada.
Team captain, Johan Deysel, expressed his delight on behalf of his team, that they once again have the opportunity to compete in the World Cup. “We are excited and we are really looking forward to the competition in the Rugby World Cup,” he said.
Ambassador Harada told two touching stories he heard on his visit to the Namibian Rugby Union. First, “Many of the Namibian players are working normally and are training at night after work. This shows strong determination.” Second, “The Welwitschia plant, the symbol of the Namibian rugby team is known for its adaptive ability and endurance to live in the harsh environment of the desert and will survive for over a thousand years.”
The farewell was also attended by the chairperson of the National Council, Hon Margaret Mensah-Williams and a former Namibian ambassador to Japan, HE Sophia Namupa Nangombe.
The Namibian Rugby Union has received the staggering amount of N$13 million to budget for all the expenses to get the Welwitschias and the team officials, to Japan and back. The team departed early on Thursday morning, 12 September as scheduled despite some minor inconvenience when Air Namibia cancelled one of the flights on which they were supposed to travel.