Nabibia, Namimia, NA-MI-BI-A!
Now, most would say that the last name on the aforementioned list is the correct pronunciation, but I am yet to hear it spoken like that by anyone so I am not convinced.
It is genius really. A name so difficult to pronounce, the opposition will spend half their time worrying about annunciation instead of watching game tape…
But lets be honest, they don’t have to.
Namibia have only been to four World Cups, haven’t won a single game, and have a total points differential of -860.
They sit 20th on the World Rugby Rankings, and its hard seeing them getting any better. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were overtaken by Spain, who aren’t even playing…
Nevertheless, Namibia are a hidden gem. And they might just win it all! Here’s three reasons why…
1. A History of Winning
Yeah! You damn well heard me right!
Namibia have beaten Ireland twice, Italy twice and Zimbabwe 26 times!
From their 126 games, they have won 73 and lost 51.
57.94 win percentage? I’ll take those odds any day!
So what if they lost 142-0 to Australia in the 2003 World Cup (a world record for biggest margin). They beat Madagascar 112-0. Thats character. Thats a team.
And yes, we realise that Richie McCaw has played more games for the All Blacks, than the country of Namibia has played in its entire tenor, but you can’t fault consistency, finishing last in every World Cup they have taken part in…
2. They Are Practically South African
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing after the Springboks’ loss to Japan, but it must count for something.
You know in films or TV series when some sort of secret agent says “off the coast of South Africa”? They are talking about Namibia.
Literally nestled on the doorstep of South Africa, Namibia has had a host of players cross the border (the legality of which may be in question), and have lost a lot of talent.
Percy Montgomery, arguable one of the Springboks’ greatest players of all time, is 100%, full-grown Namibian!
Due to an agreement between Namibia and South Africa, Namibians born players are fully eligible to represent the Springboks (when we say “agreement” we really mean South Africa said something along the lines of “give us your best rugby players and we won’t come looking for diamonds”).
In any case, Montgomery was huge, holding the record for most caps and points for the Springboks and proving to be one of the best fullbacks in the game.
Legendary Springbok Jan Ellis was also Namibian. But I won’t talk about him. Because I have no idea who he is.
3. Phil Davies Turning the Tide
Just three months ago, Namibia signed Welshman Phil Davies as the head coach.
Since his time in the position, they haven’t lost a game!
Thats right, since he came onboard in July, they recorded their first ever win against Russia, won back-to-back games against Kenya, and defeated Zimbabwe for the 26th time, to remain undefeated in 2015 heading into the RWC.
They also decided to train with the South Africans in Durban during the past month, which has seen their squad depleted significantly. Some players decided to change teams, while others just refused to go back home….(we’re kidding. They’re all still there).
Namibia to win the whole thing.