By Velile Mnyandu
Namibia’s historic qualification to the T20 World Cup Super 12 on Friday after beating Ireland by eight wickets has added to a strong South African flavour in this tournament, which is taking place in the United Arab Emirates.
Namibian head coach Pierre De Bruyn is one of the seven South African coaches who will be flying the rainbow nation flag high in this tournament, to make it even better all the four teams that progressed from round one to the Super 12 stage this week are coached by South Africans. De Bruyn is also assisted by former Proteas all-rounder Albie Morkel.
Other coaches who come from SA include, Proteas legend and former big hitter Lance Klusener who has been transformed Afghanistan into a solid unit, former Proteas coach Russell Domingo who is now with Bangladesh, his predecessor at the Proteas Micky Arthur currently with Sri Lanka. Scotland also have former KwaZulu-Natal Inland coach Shane Burger as their head coach
But it’s the former Titans and Easterns all-rounder De Bruyn who is the man of the moment, Namibia’s victory over Ireland was executed in style and it was also a work which had taken them years to build.
“Yeah, I mean, we’re ecstatic. I’ve got to just remind myself what just happened out there. But it happened to a really good group of people. We’re not an organisation with the luxury of a lot of resources around us. I’ve got 18 players to pick from in my national squad.
“And I know what they’ve put in the last three years, and what happened out there today was — yeah, I suppose it sounds like a cliché, that the hard work has paid off, but it certainly did, and I’m really ecstatic for the boys,” De Bruyn reflected on the journey.
In the round one stage, Namibia played three matches, won two against Netherlands and Ireland and only lost to Sri Lanka. According to De Bruyn thorough planning and opposition analysis was key coming to this game.
“The planning for us going into this game was calm planning. If you look at this surface here and the conditions, it actually suits us. That’s what we get back home. We had a solid game plan. We made sure that we stuck to it. It was quite simple: Don’t leave the stumps, play straight and take it deep.
“I think where Ireland got it wrong was after that devastating power play, the next four overs, 16 for 2, they fell asleep. We just knew that we needed to take it deep, rotate hard. We ran much better between the wickets,” said De Bruyn.
But there will not be enough time to relax and celebrate as this victory has also thrown them straight to the lions’ den as they will face India, Pakistan, New Zealand and other qualifiers Afghanistan and Scotland in the Super 12. De Bruyn also reminds that they are no just here to add numbers.
“Yeah, look, it’s time for us to reflect and also enjoy this moment, but we certainly didn’t come here just to go and lie down now. Facing India, Pakistan, New Zealand, those type of teams is going to be a great experience for these players, but you know, we want to be competitive in whatever we do, with ball, bat, in the field, the way we present ourselves, the way — we’re going to compete, so we’re looking forward to that.
“We’ve made history now, advancing to the Super 12. First time ever we’re going to play against these guys in a T20 World Cup. We are going to enjoy the next 24 hours or so and then we’re going to sit down as a group again and put some goals on the table, concluded De Bruyn.
Ranked 19th in the world and the lowest ranked team in this tournament, by qualifying for the Super 12, Namibia have also earned themselves a spot in the next T20 World Cup in 2022, in Australia.
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