The Island Boys football team from the Tsandi constituency and Otjinene-based Okauua Rovers netball team claimed the honours in the open tournament organised in honour of Namibian national football goalkeeper Loydt Kazapua on Sunday at the Khomasdal stadium in Windhoek.
The competition which was held under the auspices of Namibia Rural Sports Development Federation (NRSDF) started on Thursday and saw 32 football and 22 netball teams battling for N$40 000 prize money, trophies and medals.
In the first semi-final on Sunday, Island Boys defeated Fine Young Star from Erindi-roukambe in the Otjinene constituency 2-0 to book their place in the final.
The second semi-final saw the East Gate football team – which comprises Zimbabwean nationals based in Namibia – beat Windhoek-based Super Stars by a solitary goal.
The Oshana region based Island Boys were then crowned the champions of football tournament after crushing East Gate 2-0 and taking home N$15 000, a trophy and 20 gold medals.
East Gate pocketed N$8 000, 20 silver medals as runners up whereas Super Stars and Fine Young Stars each walked away with N$3 500 for coming third in the competition.
In the netball category, Okauua Rovers defeated their Windhoek counterparts Shiponokela 34-27 in the first semi-final on Sunday and booked their place in the final.
The second semi-final saw the El Maestro netball team go down to Super Stars ladies 25-17.
This led to the highly-contested final between Okauua Rovers and Super Stars, with Okauua Rovers producing a stellar performance to emerge victorious by 35-20 and crowned netball champion of the series.
On top of the trophy, Okauua Rovers also pocketed N$5 000 plus 12 gold medals, while runners up Super Stars walked away with N$2 500 cash plus 12 silver medals.
El Maestro and Shiponokela each took home N$1 250 each for ending third.
Rovers’ player-coach Shirleen Kotungondo told New Era Sport it was a challenging tournament.
“We are happy for the win despite being challenged from the first game. All the teams came prepared, but our teamwork helped us reach this far and crowned champions,” she said.
Kotungondo added that tournaments of this nature help the youth by keeping them busy as it diverts them away from “unwanted” activities.
“The organisers need to be supported and applauded for their role in helping the youth getting exposure at these top-level tournament,” she noted.
Organiser Ngatuuane Hange said the turnout of 32 football teams from almost all 14 regions is the reflection of the hunger for rural sport in the country.
He added that although sports facilities in rural areas need serious attention, a tournament of this magnitude is aimed at promoting sports in rural areas.
“It is high time for different stakeholders to come on board and look into the issue of upgrading sports facilities in rural areas. It is a very costly exercise to pay for stadiums in Windhoek and village teams spend a lot in traveling and on accommodation, but we don’t have a choice,” highlighted Hange, who is also the vice president of NRSDF. The next competition in honour of football ace Peter Shalulile will be announced later.