Following Namibia’s successful hosting of the bi-annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women’s Championship, the country has been rewarded for its efforts after the regional football governing body, the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA), resolved to give Namibia the right to host the prestigious annual COSAFA Cup in 2016.
Namibia, the incumbent COSAFA Cup champions, will stage the annual event for the first time in the history of the prestigious regional championship in May next year. Windhoek will host the championship, with the spacious Independence and Sam Nujoma Stadiums, having been identified as suitable venues.
Last year, the Namibian Football Association (NFA) was given a pat on the back for successfully hosting the 2014 African Women’s Championship against all odds, having enjoyed the full support of government and all other stakeholders in the country.
Meanwhile, the sport ministry has given the proposal the thumps up and has given the NFA the green light to go ahead with preparations. The ministry further said it would assist the NFA with the necessary financial guarantees to stage an unforgettable event.
Long-serving NFA secretary general Barry Rukoro could barely hide his excitement this week, saying the association is over the moon about the prospect of hosting the regional showpiece: “We at the NFA are extremely thankful with the confidence demonstrated by COSAFA to entrust its flagship competition to our association”.
Rukoro admitted though that the success of last year’s CAF African Women’s Championship would have played a role in the decision, which goes to show the importance of hosting major events for emerging countries and national football associations.
“Hosting competitions of such magnitude would drive the growth and give the development of the local game a brand new impetus. It was obvious, as we have witnessed during the African Women’s Championship, that after this upcoming tourney next year, a lot of local children will choose to play football in preference over any other sport. As a national association, that is exactly what we want as a ‘take-away’ from these type of events”.
NFA President Frans Mbidi also thanked the government for its support: “We are highly indebted to our Cabinet and the government of our young Republic for the unconditional backing it has given us during the bidding process and we will continue to deliver during the hosting of the COSAFA Cup 2016,” Mbidi said.
“The minister and his deputy have been very supportive towards the NFA. The football family in Namibia and the COSAFA region will be indebted to our government and the country as a whole, as we proudly bask in the sun of hosting the sub-continent in May next year,” he said.
The Brave Warriors became only the fifth nation to win the regional COSAFA Cup since its inception in 1997. Zimbabwe and Zambia have four wins apiece, while South Africa and Angola have each won on three occasions. – Additional reporting by cosafa.com