he national under-20 rugby team was on Monday awarded national colours prior to their departure to Uruguay to compete in the Junior World Rugby Trophy from 29 August to 10 September.
The team is expected to leave Namibia on Thursday.
Speaking during the colour-awarding ceremony on Monday, Freddy Mwiya, the chief administrator of the Namibia Sports Commission, acknowledged the transformation of the sport, saying the call to have a multiracial representative team has been heeded.
?We now see people of all colours attending rugby matches and for that, as the sports commission, we are grateful and we urge you to continue empowering the previously disadvantaged through rugby,? he said.
He further called on the team to emulate their seniors by performing well and winning the tournament.
Namibia?s senior rugby team has over the past years performed well as evidenced by their qualification for the past four consecutive Rugby World Cups.
?Time has come for us to go and compete not participate; represent us with pride and do your utmost best and aim for the top. We want you to be in the top three,? Mwiya added.
Thirty-four players and officials were given national colours.
Team Manager Irvin Newman, a South African, was given permission to represent Namibia.
?We are giving Irvin Newman permission to represent Namibia as he is a foreigner and according to the Sports Act, non-Namibians cannot be given national colours,? explained Mwiya.
He further praised the Namibia Rugby Union?s developmental programme, saying it keeps producing future national team players, which means Namibia remains competitive.
Team Captain Prince Gaoseb said preparations have been going on well for the past two weeks, and their aim is to improve from their fourth position finish last year.
Head Coach Rodger Thompson assured the nation that the team is made up of disciplined young players, whose main focus is playing rugby and representing Namibia well.
?We can only achieve our goal of finishing in the top three by enjoying ourselves while being competitive and disciplined to fight till the end,? he said, adding preparations are going well and the group is very talented.
The World Rugby Under-20 Trophy is a second-tier world championship and eight teams play in the tournament.
Namibia qualified for this year's edition as winner of the U20 Africa Cup when they thrashed Kenya 66-24 in the final in Antananarivo, Madagascar in April this year.
This will be the fifth consecutive time Namibia participates in the Junior World Rugby Trophy. In 2015 and 2014 it ended sixth respectively, and in 2013 Namibia ended last.
- Title: The national under-20 rugby team was on Monday awarded national colours prior to their departure to Uruguay to compete in the Junior World Rugby Trophy from 29 August to 10 September.
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- Date: 4:26 PM