Following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Debmarine Namibia, in collaboration with the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU), yesterday relaunched the ‘Bridging the Gap’ initiative.
The schools’ sports programme will this year cater for 14 schools from across the country that will compete in the U/15 and U/17 netball, football and athletics disciplines.
It will take place at the coastal town of Swakopmund from 30 September to 2 October and is expected to cater for over 42 600 learners.
The event was first launched in 2019 but had to take a two-year forced break from the local schools’ sporting calendar due to Covid-19.
For this year’s edition, Debmarine has come on board with a N$3 million sponsorship over two years.
Teams will be divided into three pools, comprising Pool A, B and C.
Speaking during the launch yesterday, Debmarine’s chief executive officer Otto Shikongo said the initiative is important because it instils discipline and respect among young athletes and helps in identifying future stars.
“Sports is the most important element in our society in terms of change. It breaks regional and international barriers. This initiative will help in keeping children from indulging in social activities that negatively affect their lives. But most importantly, this initiative will help the country identify future stars as well as give them the platform to shine,” he said.
Meanwhile, Netball Namibia (NN) secretary general Imelda Nerongo said the inclusion of netball in this initiative is very crucial as it would further assist in moulding future national netball team players.
“The U/17 Netball age group is the critical age group for the future development of our national players, therefore, a domestic competition such as the Bridging the Gap games allows the girl-child to compete and prepare themselves for the international stage,” she said.
“For NN, it simply means we aim to continue forging a working relationship with the custodians of this age group, so as to ensure that the girl-child transition into the senior national.”