The Namibia Football Association (NFA) yesterday officially confirmed Namibia’s participation in the Cosafa U/20 Championships set for Eswatini from 10 to 18 December.
The other participating counties are Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Zambia.
It will be the first time the competition is staged in Eswatini since 1993, with matches set to be played at the Mavuso Stadium in Manzini and the Kalanga Stadium.
The NFA has once again enlisted James Britz as the Young Warriors’ coach for this competition – and as of yesterday, the majority of players called up had already reported for training at the NFA Technical Centre in Katutura.
Last year, the Young Warriors narrowly missed out on the title when they lost 1-0 to Mozambique in the final of the 2020 Cosafa Cup in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
By reaching the final, they automatically qualified for the 2020 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) U/20 Tournament in Mauritania, where they also gave a good account of themselves.
The Cosafa U/20 tournament was first played in 1983, but it was a little-recognised get-together of a few of the stalwarts of the region, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.
The Apartheid practices of South Africa at the time meant they were excluded, and the country only entered the fray for the first time in 1993.
Those early years were dominated by the ‘Two Zs’, with Zambia winning six and Zimbabwe three of the first nine tournaments held.
South Africa were the first team to break the mould when they triumphed in 2000, having been losing finalists in 1995 and 1999.
A year earlier, in 1999, they had taken over the hosting of the event, which before then had been spread around the region.
Each tournament up until 2009 was held in South Africa.
More than lifting the trophy, the competition is about developing the talent of tomorrow and giving young players the chance to tackle their peers in a highly competitive environment that should help prepare them for the challenges of senior international football.