When South African allrounder Pierre de Bruyn joined Namibia's Under-19s team as a consultant six months ago, the first thing he did was sit the squad down for a Q&A.

"Which of you here thinks you can go to the Under-19 World Cup and become Player of the Tournament," De Bruyn asked.

No answer.

"Which of you believes you will beat South Africa in the Under-19 World Cup?"

No answer.

"Who believes this team can play in the World Cup quarter-final?"

No answer.

"And that's when I knew what I was working with," de Bruyn told ESPNcricinfo. "They were a side with a lot of heart and talent but they had a losing culture. I had to help them to believe they could compete on an international stage."

De Bruyn saw his task as going beyond the technical and into the theory of team culture and, by extension, successful team culture. He took it upon his himself to turn around the "excuse" mindset he said prevailed in Namibian cricket and show them that they have enough resources to really challenge the big boys. On Sunday, Namibia entered the quarter-finals of the Under-19 World Cup, ending South Africa's campaign with a two-wicket win.

"Windhoek Cricket Club has everything you need in terms of high performance facilities. There is a lot to work with there," de Bruyn said. "There are small logistical things, like if a club from there has to go and play in Walvis Bay, then it's a three-hour drive but that's what it is, that's what they have to work with. I went quite deep into the system, spoke to coaches from everywhere and looked into the structures and worked with age-groups as well. There is a lot of potential."

Namibia's young promise started peeping through even before de Bruyn even got there. In July last year, Namibia's Under-13s, Under-15s and Under-17s teams played in a tournament in Benoni against Easterns, Zimbabwe and an Easterns Development side. Namibia's Under-15s team did so well, that they were promoted up an age-group to compete against Easterns' Under-16s. Although they lost to the older boys, they were awarded team of the tournament; the most promising bowler of the tournament, Nicol Loftie-Eaton, and most promising batsmen, Shaun Fouche, came from their squad.

At the top level, those performances are starting to translate into success. Namibia finished second in the World Cricket League Division Two in 2015 and are now playing the Intercontinental Cup, where they have won one out of the two games so far. They are also benefitting from their close proximity to South Africa where they play in the provincial three-day and one-day competitions, and this season also took part in the Africa Cup T20. Even though Namibia are not recording regular wins in those events, they are rubbing shoulders with professionals and, in some cases, even getting a few to work for them.

De Bruyn signed on after he was unable to get a job at the same level in South Africa; he had applied for the Under-19s job when Ray Jennings' contract was not renewed in 2014. De Bruyn has worked at the University of Pretoria, where he has even helped Namibia's Michael van Lingen, who is studying at Paarl Boys' High School. De Bruyn is now headed to Leicestershire but hopes he will still be able to do ad-hoc work in Namibia, especially because he believes they have more to offer.

"I'm glad to see I made a difference. And I don't see any reason why I can't continue as a consultant," he said. "I see this as Namibia's window of opportunity. They must build from this. Like I said on Twitter, this is no upset. We planned and trained for this. This is what happens when you do those things."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent