The second edition of the annual Areva/Engen One Stop Service Station Usakos Football, Netball and Music Festival created massive marketing and trading opportunities for local and visiting exhibitors in Usakos last weekend.
Teams from as far afield as Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Groot Aub, Karibib and hosts Usakos descended on the rocky town to grill each other in the two-day tourney, accompanied by the NBC Damara/Nama radio station’s live broadcast of the event.
Visiting Windhoek outfit Chess-ham Babes clinched honours in the netball category to claim the first prize of N$2 500, gold medals and a trophy, while the losing finalists Scorpions received a consolation prize of N$1 000 and silver medals for their efforts.
Netball attracted 10 teams while a total of 25 teams registered in the football section, from all over the country.
Old-timers Speed Fire FC from Omaruru defeated Coastal Lions of Omaruru in the dreaded penalty shootout.
Defending champions Marokko Boys FC exited the tourney in the one semifinal at the hands of overall winners Speed Fire, also on penalties following an 1-all stalemate, while Coastal Lions saw off Eleven Tigers in the other semifinal.
Areva Resources committed a total of N$20 000 for the football division, distributed as follows: winners – Speed Fire FC, N$13 000, gold medals and brand-new playing gear, with the runner-up Coastal Lions walking away with a consolation prize of N$6 000 accompanied by silver medals and playing gear. The two losing semifinalists were the recipients of N$2 500 each.
The ultimate objective of the gathering is to create a marketing platform for the town’s residents to engage in trade and provide their services. It also seeks to invite and attract potential investors to come and witness the untapped potential in Usakos, for possible future investment opportunities.
Marathon football matches were played with talent scouts from NFA affiliated clubs present with an eye to identify raw talent.
The patron of the event, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Engel !Nawatiseb, applauded the winners, while thanking all the participating teams and their players for demonstrating extraordinary sportsmanship. He expressed the desire and hope that the town’s dilapidated sports facilities would be upgraded in future.
“Something needs to be done, so that small towns like Usakos can have better recreational facilities,” urged the Namibian lawmaker during the prize-giving ceremony at the packed to the rafters Hakhaseb Community Hall.
Charismatic MTC Premiership chairman Johnny ‘JJD’ Doeseb gave special thanks to Areva Namibia and Engen One Stop Usakos for their generous sponsorship.
“It is good to see that the corporate world and business people are ploughing back into their communities through sports. I would like to see this culture continuing year in and year out, all over Namibia.”
Doeseb added that he would personally lobby for technical support and involvement from the NPL, to provide referees and technical equipment.
Tigers in the mix
Incumbent Namibian football champions Tigers also descended on the mountain town to parade their league trophy – much to the delight of spectators. The squad members engaged in a casual audience with fans and aspiring footballers.
Munavei Mapenzi, a product of Usakos Junior Secondary School, urged the youngsters to look up to him and follow his example of how sports, football in particular, can impact a person’s life for the better. He further reminded the boys to be humble, committed and to work hard in all their future endeavours.
Also in attendance was multiple title-winning coach Brian ‘Oubaas” Isaacs, head coach of Tigers, who promised to return to the town within the next two months for a coaching clinic.
“I am glad that football is still alive and I’ve also seen some of the players here have what it takes to make it big. What’s needed is a little bit of mentoring, coaching and guidance,” Isaacs said.