Gobabis set for youth rite of passage

The mayor of Gobabis, Melba Tjozongoro at the draw. Photo: Sheefeni Nikodemus

Gobabis is the latest setting where hundreds of youth are expected to continue their sporting and personal growth over the Easter long weekend when the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup comes to town.

Being part of a tournament of this magnitude challenges and changes ones perspective of life, the organisers say.

It is a pivotal stage for many of the under-20 football and netball players who will be the centre of attention between 29 March and 1 April.

Important lessons and decisions about the direction they wish to proceed in their adult life can come from the experiences at the country’s premier youth sport competition.

That was the overriding theme during Tuesday’s launch of the newspaper cup’s 22nd edition in Windhoek.

“I want to extol the value of sport, not just to me, but to many people, especially the young people whose lives we are trying to improve through sport. Many of them are like me, having seen and experienced the world through sport,” said Netball Namibia secretary general Isack Hamata.

From rubbing shoulders with their idols and legends of Namibian sport, to forging lifelong camaraderie and getting scouted for national teams, the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup is not short on motivation, said Hamata when commending the sponsors for their long-standing commitment to the youth initiative.

“There’s a lot that comes out of this tournament for the athlete, the person. So, sponsors do not feel that you’re something small. This is something very big for the young person in this country. In four or five months you’ll see them playing for the big teams of this country. This is where they are seen. It doesn’t stop here, it stops at the national teams of this country and beyond,” said Hamata.

South African-based Monica Gomases, Corey Mupenda and Sunshine Murangi, who recently helped Namibia’s Desert Jewels to winning the silver medal at the Africa Netball Cup, are a shining example of the impact of the Newspaper Cup.

“For us, we don’t take it for granted. We are very dear and sincere about our participation in the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup. Thank you very much for your financial injection that enables many young people to come and experience another kind of world,” said Hamata.

The newspaper cup platform is intricately woven into the fabric of national youth policy, which champions for the empowerment of the youth through sport and other avenues, deputy minister of sport, youth and national service Emma Kantema-Gaomas observed.

“As we stand on the threshold of the 22nd edition of the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup, I’m filled with pride and optimism. For us who are tasked with youth empowerment, it’s assisting us to achieve our policies and objectives,” she said.

Through being part in this annual sport event, the participants are provided with essential life skills that help the youth navigate everyday challenges, the law-maker said.

“When you look at our national youth policy, it has four pillars. The second pillar speaks to health and well-being. So, for us, it’s not just a cup, it’s addressing that pillar as well, ensuring that young people are encouraged to participate in active lifestyles,” Kantema-Gaomas says.

“I want to go a step further to say that not only physical activity but what it contributes to their mental health. So for us, it [newspaper cup] addresses a whole myriad of challenges that the young people are faced with,” she says.

“This under-20 netball and football competition is more than an exhibition of sport. It’s an extraordinary event that unites our people and as many have said, that builds teamwork and increases resilience that defines us as Namibians.”


Helping to mould well-rounded citizens who contribute to the socio-economic prosperity of the country is the primary reason that Nedbank Namibia returned as the main sponsor of the tournament, said the bank’s managing director Martha Murorua.

“As an organisation, we exercise careful consideration in selecting the projects we invest in, ensuring that they align with and reflect our company ethos,” Murorua said.

“Having played a pivotal role in the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup from 2015 to 2018, we experienced firsthand how the tournament’s impact transcends the sports field, leaving a lasting impression on the lives and livelihoods of all participants,” she noted.

“Our investment into the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup represents our single largest investment into any of our other key sponsorship properties, and thus solidifies just how much we value the tournament.”

Notwithstanding the substantial economic benefits of hosting the newspaper cup, third-time hosts Gobabis is preparing to stage an unrivalled “family event” where the best talent will be on display for the masses to enjoy, said Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate.

He said they have “gone beyond the call of duty” to ensure that the upcoming tournament is a resounding success.

“The newspaper cup is a very special property,” Nganate said.

“As the governor of the most incredible region, I invite all the parents of the athletes, all football and netball lovers to come to Gobabis to participate in the sport development of our young people during the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup and see how their standard has improved since the newspaper cup held in Otjiwarongo last year,” said Nganate.

A moment of silence is to be observed before the start of every match in memory of the late Hage Geingob, the third president of Namibia, and the country’s football patron, Nganate said.

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