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New Era Newspaper Monday December 18, 2017

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NEW ERA | Monday, December 18 2017 2019 Rugby World qualifier fixtures released Page 23 Okaku to host Peter Shambo Marathon Page 23 SPORT Bothma out to continue Burger’s brutal legacy On the raise... Namibian international Renaldo Bothma (with ball) in action for his English club Harlequins. Namibian international and English rugby giants Harlequins flanker Renaldo Bothma has set himself the daunting challenge of replacing Jacques Burger, as the face of Namibian rugby in Europe and guiding his country to qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Given that Burger’s face bore the scars of a ridiculously committed career with Saracens and Namibia by the time he retired, Bothma, 28, is a brave man to take on that kind of responsibility and he admitted: “I will definitely try to keep my looks better than Jacques! For me, I just want to become a world-class player and get my form back in the coming weeks. It is not about becoming famous in England, it is about delivering my best for Harlequins and to do the boys proud. “We have the final qualification for the World Cup next June and that is something we are really looking forward to and we are confident of making it to Japan although you cannot be certain of anything about rugby. For a small country like Namibia, it is a massive thing to be at the World Cup and it is unique for those guys who are not full-time professionals.” Bothma, like 38-cap Burger who quit the game last year, has already shown an ability to overcome serious injury with more than 24 weeks spent recovering from twice breaking his arm and now a metal plate and screws will remain for the rest of his rugby career to ensure the bone stays together. The arm injury is why Quins fans have had to wait until December to see the strongly built flanker pull on the famous multi-coloured jersey. Bothma is relishing both the mental and physical challenge that comes with playing the game. “I broke my arm in the last Super rugby game I played in South Africa and there was still six or seven games rehab when I arrived at Quins and then I played in an A league match for the club. With the first ball carry I made I completely broke the same arm again and then I had to have an operation and so in total it was around 24 weeks out. “I now have a plate – not having had one the first time for the fracture which healed by itself – and the surgery was needed because it was a complete break and that will stay in my arm. You can take it out at a later stage but not now and I don’t know if it going to set off the metal detectors! “Although I have played only two games, I have enjoyed the whole experience and playing at home in front of a full stadium is something that has been lacking in South African rugby for the last year or two. The injuries at Quins this season have meant that the summer signing like myself, Demetri Catrikilis and Francis Salili have been out. Hopefully, we have a lot of guys coming back for the start of the New Year.” - Weekend of mixed results Action … Tura Magic and Life Fighters battling it out at the Sam Nujoma Stadium over the weekend. Tura Magic lost the game 0-1. … as Stars extend lead, Young Chiefs record first win WINDHOEK Oshakati-based Namibia Premier League (NPL) outfit Young Chiefs registered their first win of the season when they beat Citizens 2-1 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday. Young Chiefs are, however, still bottom of the log on eight points - two points behind Rundu Chiefs who are positioned 15th with 10 points and three points away from Tigers, who are 14th with 11 points. Young Chiefs collected five points from draws in their 12 matches played thus far. They take on UNAM on Sunday in Windhoek. UNAM also won Saturday, beating Chief Santos from Tsumeb 1-0 in Windhoek. They are now fourth on the log, level on 25 points with Young African. In a late night game at the Sam Nujoma Stadium title contenders Tura Magic, who are currently second on the log with 29 points, lost their third game of the season when they went down 0-1 against Life Fighters from Otjiwarongo. The win moved Life Fighters to ninth place on the log level on 16 points with Citizens and Blue Waters. Speaking to the media after the game, Life Fighters coach Christy Guruseb said the win shows how hard they have worked and it gives them hope of avoiding the relegation battle when the second leg of the NPL kicks off next year. He added that their focus now is turned to their Sunday game against defending champions Tigers at the Sam Nujoma Stadium. In other matches played on Saturday in different towns, Young African defeated home team, Rundu Chiefs 2-1, to move third on the log, while Black Africa lost 1-2 against Mighty Gunners in Otjiwarongo to relinquish their third position to fifth on the log on 24 points. In games played at Walvis Bay, Eleven Arrows drew 2-2 against Civics and Blue Waters lost 1-0 to log leaders African Stars, who extended their lead at the top to 36 points. They are now seven points clear of the nearest title rival, Tura Magic. Meanwhile on Friday, three Marcello Haraseb, Donovan Swartz and Nicky Musambani saw Orlando Pirates brush aside reigning champions Tigers 3-2 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday night. Absalom Iimbondi scored both goals for Tigers. - Nampa

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167