We don’t have money, I mean it – Tjongarero

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-With the growing public outcry over the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and government’s decision to withdraw the country’s under-17 football team from this year’s Cosafa Under-17 Cup due to persisting financial constraints, Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Services Agnes Tjongarero yesterday maintained that the situation is serious and there is nothing they can do to salvage the situation.

During yesterday’s parliament session, APP’s Reinhold Nauyoma requested Tjongarero to shed more light on the team’s hasty and equally worrisome withdrawal from such an important regional tournament, which was to see the Namibian youngsters defend the trophy they won in Mauritius last year.

In response, Tjongarero candidly and without beating about the bush said that the levels of her ministry’s coffers are in a worrisome state. She responded briefly, saying: “There is no money and when I say there is no money, I really mean it.”

This week the NFA announced the withdrawal of the country’s under-17 football team from the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Under-17 Championship, citing financial difficulties.

“Due to the well-known fact of budget cuts across the board in the country, we are unable, together with the government, to send the team to the Cosafa Under-17 championship. It’s a great pity for this to happen now after winning the cup last year, but we need to face reality and do what is possible,” said NFA president Frans Mbidi in a statement issued recently.

Namibia are the reigning champions of the Cosafa U/17 Cup, following their defeat of South Africa 3-1 on penalties in last year’s final in Mauritius after the match had initially ended 1-all. This year’s Cosafa U/17 Cup is again slated for Mauritius on July 21-30.

Despite the prevailing unfavourable economic climate in the country, particularly at NFA, Mbidi maintained that the country’s senior football side, the Brave Warriors, would still fulfill its obligation of participating in next month’s Cosafa Castle Cup in Rustenburg, South Africa.

The Brave Warriors will kick-start their 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup campaign with a crucial quarterfinals tie against Lesotho on Saturday July 1.

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