Namibia: Coetzee Lays Out Master Plan

The Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) over the weekend officially presented recently appointed Welwitschia head coach Allister Coetzee and his technical team with the blueprint Coetzee would use to fulfil his mandate.

“My mandate from the board is to make sure Namibia retains its number-one status in Africa, bar South Africa, and to qualify for the 2023 World Cup,” Coetzee said at the press comference.

He said these two objectives will be completed in four phases, of which the first has already begun.

Phase one involves identifying players based overseas and on the local front.

“We want to make sure the net is spread as wide as possible and not miss out on the local talent that could represent the national side one day. The big thing is to identify those players and have them on our database,” Coetzee said.

Phase one will be continued by developing the identified local players, specifically the younger ones, and exposing them to tougher games.

Coetzee said skills development will be achieved more easily by improving players’ understanding of the game, and having contact sessions afterwards.

Phase two, according to Coetzee, is the most important phase of the head coach’s master plan.

It details the preparations for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and is in line with the final qualification round in July next year.

“We will, again, have contact sessions and will have our best players coming back to Namibia, as well as our local-based players in the best condition, and a possible warm-up game against Griquas,” Coetzee said.

He said he would then pick 28 of the best Namibian players to play against Burkina Faso at the 2022 Africa Cup, which also serves as the final qualifier for the Rugby World Cup.

Phases three and four will commence after qualification for the world cup and focus on intensely preparing players and the technical team for the tournament in France, Coetzee said.

COACHING TEAM

Coetzee will be supported by former Welwitschia full back Crysander Botha as his assistant and backline coach, while former Cheetahs player Barend Pieterse will help coach the forwards, also as assistant coach.

CJ van der Linde, who was the scrum coach at French top-14 side Montpellier, is now Coetzee’s scrum coach, and will partner up with Jood Opperman in that position.

Defence and contact coach will be Pine Pienaar, and Robbie Dickson will fill the position of technical analyst.

The team does not have a physiotherapist yet.

Irvin Newman will take the role of team manager.

Coetzee admitted that most of the staff members do not have much coaching experience, but said this is where they will gain experience and hopefully replace him as head coach in the future.

“The day I am not coaching in Namibia any more I would like to see someone from Namibia as the Namibian head coach. That was the main objective with the meeting we had with the coaches – to make sure they become better coaches and eventually become national coaches,” he said.

NRU president Corrie Mensah said the union wants to start implementing a legacy programme.

“This programme needs to be executed in order for us Namibians to be independent and become fully fledged coaches ourselves. We also want to see other guys within the spectrum of coaching to excel and eventually become head coach of the country,” Mensah said.

Mensah said there is still enough room for players to be selected for the World Cup although Coetzee has his eyes on a few outstanding players.

“The main thing is that the players should make themselves available for the end-of-year tour and the matches in July next year. That is where they will be looked at, and they will make their mark there and get selected,” he said.

Hookers Obert Nortjé and Torsten van Jaarsveld, and back-rower Wian Conradie were among a few players who Coetzee said would help him achieve his mandate.

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