Nam U-20s’ participation in Cosafa doubtful

WINDHOEK – THE Namibia Under-20 football team doubts its participation in this year’s Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Under-20 championship.

The 2016 Cosafa Under-20 Championship would be held in Moruleng, North West province, South Africa, from 7 to 16 December. Hosts South Africa are the defending champions.

The draw for the group stages of the youth tournament that will bring together the best young talent in Southern Africa was held in Moruleng last week.

Namibia was drawn in Group C with Angola, Seychelles and Mauritius.

Speaking to Nampa on Monday, Secretary-General of the Namibia Football Association (NFA), Barry Rukoro, said the NFA received a directive from the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service not to participate in the upcoming youth tournament.

“I have been in discussion with the director of sport, Shivute Katamba, and he told me that the ministry has given them a directive that apart from the Region Five Games, no one should compete in any other competitions.”

He said withdrawing from the December competition would have serious repercussions, as Cosafa would punish the association.

“It would have been better to withdraw before the group selection was made and as for now, we have to expect punishment if we withdraw.

“I have spoken to our association president (Frans Mbidi) and the decision of withdrawing the team is now with him. Very soon we will let you know what has been decided about our participation at the tournament,” said Rukoro.

Katamba said the ministry has placed a moratorium on all international sport activities due to a lack of money.

“With the current financial crisis, the ministry is receiving money on a quarterly basis, which is making it difficult for us to pay our service provider and we are in a lot of debt,” said Katamba.

He added that they have applied brakes on all sport activities for this year, apart from the Region Five Games.

“Sport codes should know that it’s not business as usual at the moment due to the financial difficulties we are currently experiencing.”

The 2016 African Union Sport Council Region Five U-20 Games are slated for Angola in December.

Ten countries – host Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe and defending champions South Africa – are competing in the biennial competition.

Namibia finished fifth out of 10 countries in the last edition, which took place in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, two years ago. – Nampa