By Carlos Kambaekwa
It’s signed, sealed and delivered – the National Under 20 football eleven is to play a one-off international friendly against their South African counterparts the Amatjitas on home soil on the 8th of next month.
The eagerly awaited encounter, scheduled for the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura, replaces this year’s edition of the annual Namibian Newspaper Youth Cup and will be known as the Namibian Newspaper Challenge Cup.
Both countries boast players competing in their respective domestic elite leagues and the Acting Secretary-General of the Namibian Football Association Barry Rukoro said though the match is a friendly one and the two neighbouring nations having a lot in common, there is very little love lost between the sister countries when it comes to football.
“I can assure you, the South Africans have promised to ship in a full-strength squad to Namibia and we should ready ourselves for a tough battle.”
Speaking at the launch during a press briefing at Soccer House yesterday, editor of the Namibian newspaper Gwen Lister emphasized the importance of sport, in particular football and the role it plays to unite people from all walks of life.
Lister reaffirmed the newspaper’s commitment towards the development of sport through the Namibian Newspaper Cup and linked the success of the national senior football team the Brave Warriors to continuity at youth level, which is the primary aim of staging the annual youth cup.
“Many of the current pool of footballers in the Brave Warriors squad who did duty in the just completed 26th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana graduated through the talent identification with the annual Namibian Newspaper Cup, creating the platform for youngsters to showcase their talent on a bigger stage,” Lister added.
The move to do away with the customary format for the annual Namibian Newspaper Cup this year was necessitated by the possible overlapping of activities of Namibia’s 18th independence anniversary, which takes place over the same date. However, the tournament will revert back to the old format as of next season.