Sport Comment – Optimise Newspaper Cup 

Josef Fredericks

Is the Namibian Newspaper Cup just another event or does it have any purposeful objectives and measures in place?

The Namibian Newspaper Cup is a youth development tournament designed to foster the growth of young football and netball players, while providing a platform for talented players to showcase their skills, enthusiasm, and potential.

The tournament aims to identify and scout promising individuals for further development opportunities within a professional environment, fostering their growth as aspiring athletes.

The Namibia Football Association (NFA), as the custodian of football in the country, has the responsibility to ensure that all necessary arrangements and resources are in place for the successful hosting of the under-20 competition.

By effectively fulfilling these responsibilities, modalities, and logistics, the NFA can ensure the tournament’s success, capitalise on its potential benefits, and contribute to the overall growth and development of football in Namibia.

It is concerning to hear that data captured of players during the Namibian Newspaper Cup vanishes immediately after the completion of the event, undermining the stated objectives of the tournament.

Without proper data capturing and follow ups, the tournament may fail to achieve its full potential as a platform for youth development.

It is essential that organisers prioritise the collection and preservation of player data to ensure that talented individuals are not overlooked and have the chance to advance their football careers.

The real objective of the tournament should be to provide a pathway for young players to progress to higher levels of football, both domestically and internationally.

This can only be achieved if organisers are committed to tracking and supporting the development of talented players beyond the duration of the tournament.

Josef Fredericks.

Here are some recommendations for improving the data capture and follow-up process:

* Establish a robust player registration system that collects comprehensive data on each participant, including their contact information, playing history, and performance statistics;

*Create a database to store and manage player data securely;

*Develop a system for tracking player progress after the tournament, including their involvement in youth academies, clubs, and national teams;

*Establish partnerships with professional clubs and academies to provide opportunities for scouted players to showcase their skills and earn contracts;

*Provide ongoing support and mentorship to scouted players to help them navigate the challenges of transitioning to a professional environment.

By implementing these measures, the Namibian Newspaper Cup can become a truly effective platform for youth development and help to identify and nurture the next generation of football stars.

Other countries have a strong focus on youth development, with dedicated academies and training programs for different age groups, while in Namibia, it seems that winning at the senior level is more important than investing in the future of the sport.

This lack of focus on youth development not only hinders the growth and potential of young players, but also creates a gap in talent development and identification.

With a strong and deliberate youth development program, Namibia would have a steady stream of talented players coming through the ranks and potentially competing at an international level.

Moreover, grassroots football is often overlooked in Namibia.

This is a critical stage in the development of young players and where many future stars of the sport are discovered.

Investing in grassroots football means providing opportunities for children in all communities to play and learn the game, and creating a strong foundation for the future of football in Namibia.

It is time for the NFA to prioritise youth development and grassroots football.

This can start with establishing a clear and structured youth development system, investing in coaching and training for young players, and providing opportunities for them to compete at all levels.

By doing so, we can ensure a bright future for football in Namibia and produce top-class players who can represent the country at the highest level.

– Joseph Fredericks is a football lover, coach and former first vice president of the Namibia Football Association.

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