Kaleb Nghishidivali

Otjozondjupa region will host The Namibian Newspaper Cup tournament 2023, this is set to kick-off on 7th April 2023 till 10th April this year. The region promised to provide a remarkable event, this was said yesterday, March 7, by the chairperson of the Otjozondjupa regional council Marlayn Mbakera during the official launch and draw event that took place in the town of Otjiwarongo.

The tournament is sponsored by Standard Bank Namibia and other sponsors under the theme Revive Economic Growth Through Sport.

This is the 3rd time Otjozondjupa region is hosting the tournament, first it occurred in 2002 and later in 2013.

Speaking during the occasion Mbakera said the region is pleased to host this event and it will be done at the extent of remarkable.

“Otjozondjupa region stands firm behind the NFA, Netball Namibia, The Namibian Newspaper, Standard Bank and Coca-Cola, reassuring that the beautiful people of this great region and committed to deliver a remarkable 21st edition of The Namibian Newspaper Cup that will commence exactly one month from today,” said Mbakela.

She also said that almost 300 boys and girls will gather for four days of the Easter weekend in Otjiwarongo.

“All these children will be far away from the temptations of using alcohol and substance,” she also noted.

The tournament was first launched in 2001 and this going to take place for the 21st time this year. The first football champion was Omaheke region that won it for four times followed by Khomas region that also won it for four times. Otjozondjupa region managed to walk away with the title for three times, first in 2005, 2013 and lastly in 2017 after beating Erongo region that were the hosts 2-1. While Kavango East region was the first netball champion in 2018.

Last year 2022 Zambezi region were  crowned as football champion and Khomas region crowned as Netball champion.

The tournament will feature two sport codes namely: football and netball. The home football team will play their first game against Khomas region while the Netball team will kick-off with //Karas region.

The Namibian Newspaper Deputy Editor in Chief Isack Hamata said that the competition’s importance cannot be understated, with many of the current and former Brave Warriors stars such of Benson Shilongo who is currently a star in Ethipia, having for their first foray into competitive football on this platform.

As of last year, Grace Matyayi from Otjozondjupa managed to walk away with a best netball player of the tournament medal.

Regions are expected to battle in groups and the top team in group stages will qualify for semifinal in both football and netball.

“This year, Standard Bank Namibia is expected to lessen the financial burden on the Namibian when they come on board with a strong sponsorship. Additionally, the ministry of sport, Youth and National Service have taken up the transportation and accommodation cost of the teams in recent editions, while the ministry of works and Ministry of Education supplement the renovation of the hostel and sport facilities,” said Hamata.  

This year the overall winner’s prize remains at N$ 30 000.00 for football, while the runners up will get N$20 000.00 and the semi-finalists N$16 000.00 each. The Netball competition first prize is worth N$25 000.00; second price is valued at N$12 500.00; the third placed team gets N$6 250.00; and the fourth best will be awarded with N$3125.00.

As usual the tournament will offer several incentives awards, such as the man of the match, top goal scorer of the tournament, goal-keeper of the tournament, match official of the tournament, player of the series and fair play award (team) and so on.

Meanwhile the Standard Bank regional manager Frieda Albert voiced their drives theme, that is ‘Namibia is our home, we drive her growth’. She further that stated that it is imperative for them to be deliberate when deciding which organizations and events they partner with.

“We collaborate when we believe that the event is purpose driven and will add value to growth of the community. We are therefore proud to announce that Standard Bank Namibia will once against be the main sponsor of The Namibian Newspaper Cup,” said Albert.

Furthermore, she specified that their contribution towards this tournament is to renovate netball and soccer facilities to make sure that young athletes will make access to proper sport grounds to compete.

“It is our vision that the tournament continues to grow year after year and that people all over Namibia will be filled with our same excitement and travel from across the country to come and be spectators. There is an opportunity here to make this event the most anticipated sporting event on the calendar. An influx of people will contribute to the local economy and local businesses can be exposed to new customers and make their products and services available to wide range of people,” said Albelt.  

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