… Tournament champs to be decided this weekend
By John Tuerijama
THE Hardap under-17 regional football team is among the favourites to win the Skorpion Zinc Cup, which takes place from 7 to 10 September in Windhoek, after ending as runners-up in the previous edition of the competition, which was held in 2015.
The opening ceremony will take place on Thursday, while the matches will commence on Friday at the NFA Technical Field and the Sam Nujoma Stadium.
The first match will be between the Omaheke vs Kunene regions in Group A.
Hardap were beaten 2-1 by Omusati in the final match in 2015, and are determined to perform exceptionally well in this year’s Skorpion Zinc Cup, which is sponsored to the tune of N$1.4 million by Skorpion Zinc.
The skilful and talented Hardap squad is pitted in Group C against Kavango West, Oshana and Zambezi.
Speaking to Confidente this week, Hardap Region Football Association Vice-Chairperson, Lukas Veldskoen, expressed satisfaction with the team’s preparations, which started in July. “The boys were in camp for the past two weeks, and we have had successful trials in the region, as we travelled while looking to assemble the best players. I must say that the team is a representation of the whole region, as we have players from as far as Rehoboth, Mariental, Gibeon, Aranos and the villages,” said Veldskoen. He said the team has been accommodated at Mariental High school.
“Our chances of making it out of the group stages are very good. We are not undermining our opponents, but our players are mentally and physically prepared. As you know, our opponents are bigger physically, but we will use our physicality to the best of our abilities.” The team has also played a few warm-up matches against second division outfits in the Hardap region, as well as against football academies. “Looking at the two previous editions (of the Skorpion Zinc Cup), we lost in the group stages in 2014, but now we expect our boys to better their last performance (in 2015),” stressed Veldskoen. Asked if the business community has been helpful, in terms of the team’s preparation, Veldskoen said that the Office of the Hardap Regional Governor, the Mariental municipality and the regional council have always been helpful in assisting, especially the U-17 and U-20 regional teams. “Apart from them, we have had support from individual businesses, like the owner of Spar in Mariental,” he said.
Defending champions Omusati Otjozondjupa and //Karas are also in Group A, while Group B boasts the likes of Ohangwena, Kavango East, Oshikoto, Erongo and Khomas. The Group A winners will face the Group C winners in the semi-finals, while the runners-up in Group A and B will play a knockout match, before taking on the winner of Group B. Entrance is free to football lovers, who want to follow the action.
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