‘Priceless’ Newspaper Cup rolls on

The Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup 2024 launch and draw was held in Windhoek yesterday. Photo: Sheefeni Nikodemus 

The Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup has stood the test of time to remain at the forefront of developing talent in the country, the organisers said when launching the 22nd edition in Windhoek yesterday.

The under-20 football and netball tournament takes place from 29 March to 1 April at Gobabis.

It is not by chance that the fortunes of the Brave Warriors and Desert Jewels have improved significantly over the years, to rival some of the leading nations at international competitions, said Nedbank Namibia managing director Martha Murorua.

It is a direct and deliberate consequence of the unwavering investment in talent identification and development through the newspaper cup, she said.

“This event stands as Namibia’s premier football and netball development tournament. Uniting hundreds of young athletes selected to represent their regions with their God-given talent,” Murorua said.

She added that the “priceless” tournament is also a beacon of hope for many Namibians who are filled with immense pride and joy when witnessing one of their own representing them nationally.

“A travelling delegation of young netball and soccer starlets, their coaches and accompanying officials could number to about 50 representatives from each region.

“Then it is quite evident that the town of Gobabis will see an influx of hundreds of bright-eyed youth, all eager to make their mark and bring glory to their regions,” said Murorua.

“This tournament not only showcases the incredible talent of our youth but also embodies the spirit of unity, passion and empowerment that sport brings to our communities. For us, it is exactly this full scale embodiment and youthful enterprise that has brought us back to the newspaper cup,” said Murorua.

Editor of The Namibian Tangeni Amupadhi said the competition has grown from a noble initiative to a “giant” of the national sport development agenda.

“It’s a national event. It’s really owned by everybody who is Namibian and that’s why we see a lot of stars out there having gone through this developmental event,” said Amupadhi.

He said partnering with Nedbank and other sponsors has made it easier to withstand the prevalent economic pressures that come with hosting the event annually.

The first corporate sponsor of the competition, Nedbank’s involvement with the newspaper cup saw netball added to the roster.

“I think we can go back in the history of Namibia and find that there’s probably no other tournament that has persevered through whatever weather it had to go through. So, hopefully this will continue for a very long time,” Amupadhi said.

A grateful deputy sport minister Emma Kantema-Gaomas said the event was an excellent and noble effort towards nation building by the organisers.

“To keep the players contained in one stadium for four days, away from potential temptations of social ills, and to focus on the football and netball and build a competitive pool of top players that will ultimately represent us in the Brave Warriors and Desert Jewels. This is how important this cup is,” Kantema-Gaomas said.

“I was looking at our team and players at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), where some of them played their last match. That’s why it’s very important that we give attention to youth development football. To Nedbank Namibia and The Namibian, to you it might look like it’s just an investment you’re making but for us who are entrusted with this responsibility, it’s taking us a closer step to professionalising football and netball in this country.”

The host region, Omaheke, promised to deliver a memorable spectacle.

“I want to recommit at the official launch that the Omaheke region stands firm behind the Namibia Football Association, Netball Namibia, Nedbank, The Namibian, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service and Coca Cola. I want to reassure you that the beautiful people of the great Omaheke region commit to deliver an incredible edition of the Nedbank Namibia Newspaper Cup,” Omahake governor Pio Nganate said.

The Nedbank Namibian Cup 2024 Draw

Netball section:

Group A – Ohangwena, Otjozondjupa, Kavango West, Oshana, Omusati, Kunene, //Kharas

Group B – Hardap, Khomas, Erongo, Oshikoto, Kavango East, Zambezi and Omaheke

Football Section:

Group A – Zambezi, Oshikoto, Hardap, Khomas

Group B – Kavango East, Kavango West, Oshana, Kunene

Group C – Otjozondjupa, Ohangwena, Omusati

Group D – //Kharas, Erongo and Omaheke

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