… But Namibian stars shine bright, despite challenges
By John Tuerijama
IT has been a turbulent year for sport codes, and while some produced world stars, and improved their grassroots development programmes, it was a nail-biting fight for survival for most, including the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
The NPL experienced stormy weather for most of this year, as the league struggled to secure a potential sponsor, but its resolve finally paid off, when the country’s largest telecoms operator, MTC, and co-sponsor First National Bank (FNB) Namibia came to its rescue and injected a combined N$20 million into the elite league.
Looking at the sport codes that have done tremendously well in 2017, one will not, even in the midst of an erupting deadly volcano, forget to congratulate the Nestor Sunshine Boxing and Fitness Academy for producing world champion Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo, who in the space of a few months won the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super lightweight titles in 2016, after beating Russian Eduard Troyanovsky, and in 2017 clinched the World Boxing Organisation (WBA) title from Scotsman Ricky Burns, only to lose all three titles to American Terrence Crawford in a unification bout.
Long-distance runner Helalia Johannes is another marvel, who keeps the flame alive, and she must be praised for her brilliant performance at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, where she came second, and for ending in 12th position at the Vienna City Marathon that took place in Austria in April.
Unwavering recognition goes to the national hockey team, who this year beat their old foe South Africa, to qualify for the 2018 World Indoor Hockey World Cup, scheduled for Berlin in early next year. They are the only African representative at the world showpiece.
The Brave Warriors was another standout team during 2017, within the sport fraternity, after mauling Zimbabwe and the Comoros to qualify for their maiden 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals, slated for Morocco in early next year.
The Brave Warriors, comprised of the locally based players has become a formidable force to be reckoned with, and they could surely spring a surprise in Morocco.
The national under-20 rugby team lost in the bronze medal match of the 2017 World Rugby Trophy, but were nevertheless crowned as African champions, during the African Rugby U-20 Barthes Trophy in April.
Namibia’s Paralympians team cannot go unnoticed, as they have done tremendously well in international sporting arena, with Ananias Shikongo qualifying for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and going on to win a silver at this year’s International Paralympic Committee (ICP) Athletics World Championship held in London, while compatriot Johannes Nambala brought home two silver medals from the global event. Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) Chairperson, Joel Matheus, said that the likes of Shikongo, Nambala and Indongo have certainly done Namibia proud in their respective disciplines, and have without a doubt produced consistent results.
Young kickboxing sensation Delano Muller is certainly Namibia’s future gem, having won the Junior Sportsman of the Year title for the second consecutive year, while demonstrating the undoubted talent the young lad possesses. Gymnast Charlize van Zyl is also definitely poised to conquer the world, especially in the trampoline and tumbling disciplines.
Brave Warriors’ mascot, the late Robbie Savage, will be forever remembered by many sport lovers locally and abroad, for his immense contribution, in terms of moral support to the country’s footballers, and sport in general.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015