Newspaper Cup revives Gobabis Stadium

FOUNDER of leading Gobabis outfit Young African Football Club Marley Tjiveripo Katuuo says the upcoming Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup has already made a noteworthy impact, having made it possible to renovate the ailing sport field at the town.

The 22nd edition of the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup is slated for Gobabis in the Omaheke region from 29 March to 1 April, when over 300 youngsters from the country’s 14 regions will compete for honours.

Speaking to Desert Radio this week, Katuuo said the annual football and netball youth spectacle has transformed the stadium, with renovations breathing new life into the venue.

“It is a very big thing and will benefit the rest of the community even after the event has concluded,” Katuuo said.

He expressed his gratitude to the event’s organisers for awarding the hosting rights to the Omaheke region, and said the local economy and sport fraternity at the town will benefit handsomely.

“In terms of the infrastructure, I am very impressed that this event can certainly have an impact of that multitude, looking at the upgrade of the sports field. Now you wonder that even us who play premier league football, nothing was pushed to get the field to the level that I am seeing now,” Katuuo said.

“Renovations only happen now when we are hosting the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup. It demonstrates that it is indeed a valued tournament, having seen the local municipality and regional council investing in the upgrade of the sport facilities,” he said.

While applauding the organisers, he suggested altering the tournament format from a once-off annual event to a league to give the youngsters more playing time. This will also have greater benefits to more than one host, and scouts will get ample time to assess talent.

“Yes, we can not take away the importance of the Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup because that is where we will have future stars for the various national football teams,” he said of the competition’s significance.

“But it does not help having talent displayed at one tournament and waiting for another year to see it. Instead, it is best to have the tournament play around a bit longer, so that elite football clubs have enough time to identify and rope in players by following the right procedures,” said Katuuo.

The football action gets underway on Friday morning with a clash between the Oshikoto and Khomas region, who have six titles between them.

Holders Kavango West begin their title defence against archrivals Kavango East in match four of the tournament, while the host region Omaheke kicks off their campaign against the //Kharas region in the sixth match of the opening day of the tournament.

Netball lovers will be treated to an exciting opening clash as Omusati opens the battlefield against Ohangwena, with Kavango East taking on Hardap and defending champions Khomas face the hosts.

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