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Local

The Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup: Holds a critical role in youth sports development.

todayMarch 14, 2024 5

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OUTJO, 04 April 2015 – Khomas region’s striking/midfielder Maharero Jandjamuje (in red) challenging for the ball with Hardap defender Nelson Haidula during the group games at The Namibian Newspaper Cup at the Outjo stadium. (Photo by: Hesron Kapanga) NAMPA

 

 

 

With less than three weeks to go before the 22nd edition of the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup which will be held in Gobabis from 29 March – 2 April, sportsmen and women who have taken part in the games previously say that the competition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young and upcoming athletes.

Nedbank Namibia is returning as headline sponsor of the tournament. The youth sport competition has been spearheaded since inception by the Namibian Newspaper and supported by the Namibia Football Association and Netball Namibia. The principal aim of the competition it to provide a platform for Namibian youth to showcase their skills and capabilities.

The tournament is held for male and female athletes under the age of 20 years, with the purpose of developing competitive sport among the youth, building fitness and endurance levels, and identifying potential athletes to represent the country in regional international competitions.

One such alumnus of the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup is professional football player, Petrus Shitembi. Shitembi is one the elite Namibian footballers who has gone on to win the Cosafa Cup and has also represented Namibia twice at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). Speaking about the impact the Newspaper Cup had on his career, Shitembi said that despite reaching higher grounds in football, he credits the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup for giving him the platform to showcase his talent at an early age.

“I am immensely grateful for the opportunity and platform it laid for my career. It brought about so much exposure and certainly placed me in good standing with regard to my national team career, from the Under-17 through to the senior national team,” he said.

The midfielder who plays for Malaysia Super League club, Kuching City, said his message to young footballers who are preparing to represent their regions in this years’ edition of the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup, is to go to the competition ready while at the same time making sure they are going to work hard and give it their all in every game.

Another notable Namibian footballer who once played in the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup is Erastus Someno. Someno is currently a Sports Officer for both the Kavango Regions at the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service. Someno, who played in the tournament over 20 years ago, donned the green colours of the Kavango region during his footballing days. He said that the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup has branded him into the player he is today.

“I made a name for myself through this competition and saw my first national team (U/20) call-up coming from the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup, during the edition hosted in Oshakati in 2003. This was a life changing experience that I will never forget in my football career,” he said.

Someno added that representing the Kavango Region at the 2003 Newspaper Cup inspired him to take football seriously, this decision has gone on to rewarded him throughout his career, “I owe it to the Newspaper Cup for making me a soccer player of note,” he said.

Marcel Papama, who currently plays for Botswana based Township Rollers Football Club, stated that appearing at the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup opened a lot of doors for him.

“As a footballer the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup gave me exposure and I am grateful for that. Competing at this competition showed me how much talent the country had but with hard work, I was noticed by local scouts and from there the rest is history,” he said.

Focus on the girl child through the sport of Netball was added to then tournament five years ago. President of Netball Namibia, Rebekka Goagoses, said the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup has made numerous improvements to the game of netball, and that the competition offers Netball Namibia an opportunity to impart knowledge to its players and affiliates.

“This will be the fifth time Netball is included in the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup. Our journey of being part of this prestigious event has been a great opportunity to showcase the talents of the girl child through the sport of Netball,” she said.

She added that due to their participation in the Newspaper Cup, the association has been able to identify immense talent for the Under-21 national team, this includes the likes of Loide Kanyolo, Athiel Mbaha and Muhimise Jaepa, who represented the Khomas Region, Elizabeth Besser and Usuta Muvangua, from the Erongo Region, and Grace Matyayi from the Otjozondjupa Region.

Cassius Moete from the Namibian Football Association stated that the primary goal of the tournament is aid in the development of football in Namibia, with an emphasis on cultivating technical prowess on the pitch.

“We believe in cultivating an environment which fosters growth, where young players can learn valuable life lessons and develop into well-rounded individuals who embody the spirit of fair play. Looking back at the likes of Shitembi and Papama, I still remember when they played in the tournament and how their gameplay has changed incredibly while still retaining the humility and camaraderie a sports person should embody. It’s through this holistic approach, we aim to equip the next generation of stars who will not only excel in the sport, but also contribute positively to their communities,” Moetie said.

Nedbank Namibia’s returns as sponsor Nedbank Namibia Chief Operating Officer, Victor Ashikoto said: “Nedbank Namibia is cognisant of the positive impact that sports and physical activity has on our society, as we return as the headline sponsors of the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup, our focus is on creating a successful youth-focused event that will bolster the growth of football and netball in Namibia. Coming together and supplementing our efforts with like-minded entities such as the Namibian Newspaper, the Namibian Football Association, as well as Netball Namibia, will greatly empower the next generation of athletes,” he said.

The Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup will kick off on 29 March. The final will be played on Monday, 1 April 2024 at the Legare Stadium in Gobabis.

Written by: Contributed

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