….sponsorship and funding key for rugby growth
Namibian rugby sensation Renaldo Bothma is relishing the challenge awaiting him after agreeing to join South Africa’s Super 15 outfit Blue Bulls on a long term deal and also gave some insights on the growth of Namibian rugby. The hard-tackling flanker could not hide his excitement during an exclusive wide-ranging interview with this newspaper earlier this week, saying: “It was a difficult decision to leave the Sharks but I am very excited for the new journey”. “It was difficult especially after making such good friends and to leave the lifestyle behind! But i just felt that it was time for a new challenge and I also feel I can contribute more at the Bulls,” said an optimistic Bothma. With the Bulls currently undergoing a building phase, Bothma was not shy to state that “I really want to be part of it.” “I think this will be a good move for my career, especially with all the new coaches at the Bulls. I am excited to work with them and I can just continue to become better,” who said the switch to the Pretoria-based outfit will also bring him closer to some of his friends and family.
Bothma predicts a fruitful year for Namibian rugby in South Africa’s Currie Cup. “This year’s Currie Cup is going to be a huge stepping stone for Namibian rugby as it will give a lot of young players the opportunity to excel and give them a chance to get a Super Rugby deal and also to represent Namibia.” Bothma underscored the need for Namibian rugby to keep the momentum garnered since last year’s World Cup, adding that: “We have done a lot of hard work in the World Cup and it is important to keep on building to be successful. The 27-year-old just recently returned to the gym after an 8-week absence due to injury. “I am just a bit frustrated over my injury, it has been 8 weeks and I have trained extremely hard the last 2 months after returning from Japan! So I am very excited to return to the rugby field and do what I love,” he said.
Growing Namibian rugby
Asked about the prospects of growing Namibian rugby to greater heights, Bothma said although Namibia cannot be compared to rugby powerhouses such as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and France, he pointed out that the country can still strive “to be the best we can possibly be”. “With Phil Davies as coach we can do it. The most important thing that Namibia need is to work together, funding and sponsorships because it will make everything a lot easier. If you have a big budget you can grow rugby as a whole and you can also develop rugby in Namibia,” Bothma said. As for his personal future, Bothma is still uncertain where he sees him five years from now adding that: “I take every year as it comes. My main goal will always be to be the best that I can and to excel as a player every year.” “For now I just want to start playing again. One of my goals is to help take Namibian rugby to the next level and attempt to get our world rankings down as well as qualify for the next World Cup, that has to be our main goal as Namibia,” said Bothma who has been on the professional rugby scene for the past seven years now. Bothma said he is currently not studying but focused solely on his rugby career. On whether he will consider moving back to Namibia when his rugby days comes to an end, Bothma said: “I would definitely want to move back to Namibia and start a business or something. I am not too sure what I will do but I am sure I will know when I am nearing the end of my career.”