… As region sweeps aside Skorpion Zinc Cup rivals
By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA Football Association (NFA) Secretary-General, Barry Rukoro, says the Omusati region, whose under-17 side swept aside their 13 regional rivals last weekend, to retain the Skorpion Zinc Cup, is a shining example, in the way they have taken advantage of NFA courses and other initiatives over the years.
Omusati successfully defended the Skorpion Zinc Cup crowns they won in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the tournament, by defeating Erongo 4-2 in the final that was played last Sunday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.
The tournament, which was this year sponsored to the tune of N$1.4 million by Skorpion Zinc, was not played last year.
Rukoro said this week that all the credit must go to the Omusati football regional leadership, who have capitalised on the opportunities made possible by the national football body.
Rukoro said that Omusati is a classical example of a region that truly maximises its opportunities, by sending its coaches and officials to the NFA’s various coaching, referee and administration courses. Wearing their distinctive green and white colours, the young lads from Outapi, the regional capital of Omusati, successfully retained their trophy.
The champions played to a one-all draw against Otjozondjupa in their opening match, before hammering lukewarm Omaheke by an impressive 3-1.
They also defeated //Karas by 5-4 and Kunene by 2-0 in the group stages. Omusati continued their onslaught in the semi-finals, where they defeated Kavango West by a solitary goal, before decisively dealing with Erongo in the final.
“It’s a sign that the Omusati football leadership is doing incredibly well in the youth development space, because they have attended the NFA educational programmes, and now they are certainly reaping the benefits,” Rukoro said this week. “They have been very committed, by consistently having their coaches attend our coaching courses and the players have, in return, benefited as a result.”
Rukoro also warned other regions, especially those which have been traditional powerhouses, that they should be weary of their northern and north-eastern counterparts. He emphasised that it was only Erongo that had spoiled the party for north and north-eastern regions at this year’s Skorpion Zinc Cup, by qualifying for the semi-finals, along with Kavango East, Kavango West and Omusati.
“These other regions, especially from the central and southern parts of the country, which claim to know it all, are being overtaken, and now the northern regions are slowly becoming a stronghold of Namibian football, as they are in their prime, in terms of broadening their football horizons,” Rukoro said.
“Take a look at Kavango West; they are the youngest region, and yet they have made it to this year’s semi-final stages. They have taken the opportunities made available by the NFA seriously, and again they are reaping the results.”
He warned that if regions do not seriously capitalise on the various courses organised by the NFA, they will not be as successful. “The Skorpion Zinc Cup competition has shown that football is heading northwards, and if the central and southern regions don’t take stock, their football development will stagnate,” the veteran football administrator said.
Rukoro said that he was least impressed by the Zambezi, Omaheke, Hardap and //Karas regions, as it was evident that not much has been invested in their football development. When contacted for comment Omusati Regional Football Chairperson, Efraim Shooka, said their regional coaches had taken full advantage of the NFA courses on offer.
“It’s certain that we have ploughed back the knowledge gained at these courses, into our football structures, and we have taken these developmental programmes seriously. What we do is that we travel through the whole region, from Okalongo, Tsandi, Okahao, Ogongo and Outapi, to select the best possible team, which normally assembles in Outapi,” said Shooka.
He attributed their triple success at the Skorpion Zinc Cup to the seriousness, discipline and commitment of the players, coupled with the necessary motivation from the regional football leadership.
Shooka said that they a considering assisting some of their players financially, with their educational challenges, including through providing school uniforms and materials. “We know that some of our players are struggling and we really want to help, where possible.” Rukoro said that the Scout Talent Committee, which comprises of former Brave Warriors players, have selected the tournament’s top 30 players. The talent and skill of these players would now be harnessed to represent Namibia at the 2018 Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) Under-17 Cup and the 2018 Four Nations Tournament, which normally features the U-17 national side, the German Westphalia team and invited sides from Ghana or South Africa.
Rukoro said the players will attend an intensive training programme.
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