Chinese embassy backs Namibian youth

Tjiunatjo Kakuenje will captain Namibia at the Schools Football World Cup in China. Photo: Contributed 

The Chinese embassy began its support for youth sport in the country with a N$100 000 donation to the China-bound Namibian School Sport Union (NSSU) under-18 football team on Tuesday.

Namibia will compete in the School Football World Cup, an International School Sport Federation (ISF) event, which is scheduled to take place from 16 to 27 May in Dalian, China.

Chinese ambassador to Namibia Zhao Weiping held a farewell reception for the youngsters on Tuesday, and declared his intention to continue supporting youth sport initiatives.

Zhao said the 23-member Namibian team will receive free accommodation and food for the duration of their stay, courtesy of the Dalian Municipal Government of China.

“The embassy will provide more support for the development of Namibian youth sport and will work hard to promote friendly exchanges and cooperation between our two countries in this area,” Zhao said while addressing the gathering.

“I see the China trip by the football team of NSSU as a milestone in the history of China-Namibia youth sport exchanges. I welcome and support more such exchanges in future. And, I hope more friends and corporate entities will lend their support in this worthy cause.”

He wished the team a safe and pleasant trip to China, and excellent performance in the ISF Football World Cup 2024.

Furthermore, the Zhong Mei Engineering Group, a Chinese company operating in Namibia, are covering the team’s airfare.

Managing director Jiang Chongyuan said they were delighted to assist the youth team to expand their horizons.

“The 2024 ISF Football World Cup is not only a sports event but also an important opportunity and a good chance for the growth of young athletes,” said Jiang.

“This event would offer an important platform for young athletes, as well as an important opportunity for cultural exchange and friendship enhancement between China and Namibia,” he said.

“Through this event, we will witness the passion and vitality of those young athletes, and we will feel the friendship and unity among different countries. This collective spirit of unity is one of the core thoughts that my company has always advocated.”

This support will not be taken for granted, said sport, youth and national service minister Agnes Tjongarero.

“We are collaborating on so many programmes and projects, however, we have never really collaborated on the sports front. I hope the participation of this team in the ISF Football World Cup in your country will culminate in a long-lasting memorandum of understanding between Namibia and China in the field of sports,” Tjongarero said.

She urged the team to make the most of the opportunity presented to them.

“I am informed that the ISF Football World Cup is an event characterised by a balanced programme between sport and educational content. Sport and education go hand in hand, you must strive to achieve excellence in both. Platforms and opportunities such as this do not come around every day, and to everyone,” Tjongarero noted.

“You must grab it with both hands and get the best out of it. As sport stars of the future, discipline and hard work are the key ingredients leading to a successful career, and life after football. Go and enjoy yourself, make friends, learn about other cultures, but most importantly, go and represent your country with pride and honour,” she said.

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