By John Tuerijama
THIS was a year of mixed fortunes in the various sports disciplines. As we close off the year, we look at the events that raised eyebrows during 2016.
It all started with poor communication between Athletics Namibia (AN) and the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) who fought tooth and nail on the qualification criteria which in the end denied Namibia’s elite athletes who were based in Jamaica an opportunity to shine at the world stage.
At the centre of the controversy was veteran sprint sensation, Tjipekapora Herunga’s qualification which was so heavily contested by the NNOC leadership after qualifying at the 2015 All Africa Games.
Perhaps the biggest sport news of the year was the non-renewal of MTC’s sponsorship towards the Namibia Premier League.
Football has come to a complete standstill and authorities have had to change the season to start in February 2017 to give them time to source sponsorship for the new season.
The good news is that the Namibia Football Association has managed to secure sponsorship from Debmarine Namibia to sponsor the NFA Cup which will for the next three seasons be known as the Debmarine Namibia Cup.
It is no doubt that the Namibian Paralympic team has done the country extremely proud and are the darlings of each and every household in this ‘Land of the Brave’.
Ananias Shikongo won bronze and gold at the Rio Paralympic Games while Johannes Nambala weighed in with a silver medal to complete Namibia’s heroic performance in Brazil.
After becoming world champion in his home town of Walvis Bay, De Wet Moolmon scooped another accolade for himself and for karate when he was voted Sportsman of the year at the Annual Sports Awards.
Two world champions were produced this year in the persons of Bethuel Tyson Uushona (World Boxing Federation welterweight) and Julius Indongo (International Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Federation (lightwelter weight).
Brave Warriors and Baby Warriors
Despite Ricardo Mannetti’s charges failure to book themselves a place at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations billed for Gabon, and failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup slated for Russia, the boys managed to scoop the Plate trophy at this year’s Confederation of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup hosted by Namibia. That is after winning the main tournament tin South Africa last year.
The Under 17 team, known as the Baby Warriors reciprocated by winning the COSAFA Under 17 Tournament under the watch of coach Timo Tjongarero.
After crushing out of the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup qualifiers held in Gaborone, Botswana there has been little international activity for netball. Locally, not a lot of league netball is played as regions have failed to establish netball leagues. Like other codes, netball has consistently complained about lack of funding which is hampering their development.
Mixed bag of fortunes for the national rugby side. The Welwitschias successfully defended the CAR Africa Cup after a series of home and away matches, the last being against Zimbabwe who they defeated 60- 22 to keep the cup in Namibia.
However, the team was not so lucky in the South Africa provincial tournament, the Currie Cup, which they exited without a single win this season.
The rugby union had some good fortune on the sevens front, however. The Namibian Sevens side won at the Africa Rugby Cup Sevens held in Nairobi, Kenya while another milestone came handy when the Senior National team clinched the 2016 Africa Cup Division 1A in Uganda.
Cricket Namibia (CN) has made great strides this year with the national Under 19 cricket team having booked a place at the 2018 World Cup finals to be hosted by New Zealand.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015