Team Namibia will later today leave for Maseru, Lesotho, where the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games are scheduled for 3 to 12 December.
The team for the ninth edition of the biennial youth games consists of athletes for track and field, which include para-athletes, basketball, tennis, football and volleyball.
The games could not take place last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected sports events around the world.
Namibia Sports Commission chief Freddy Mwiya told New Era Sport that the bulk of athletes arrived in Windhoek last week and had various training sessions.
He trusts that the team is ready to bring back a large medal haul.
“I believe all of them are in good shape and ready to go and perform well at this regional competition,” said Mwiya. A couple of athletes have, however, withdrawn from the team due to exams.
“Those who will be writing within those days of competition have withdrawn.”
Ten Region 5 countries were scheduled to participate, but South Africa and Madagascar have since withdrawn their football teams from the competition due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in those countries. The other countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe as well as non-Region 5 countries Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles.
Commenting on that issue, Mwiya said countries withdrawing is an advantage for Namibia.
“We won’t withdraw the team; we are going. If some countries have withdrawn, then it means it’s an advantage for us, and we will capitalise on that.”
Besides the sports codes Namibia will be competing in, the games also offer boxing, gymnastics, judo, netball, swimming and taekwondo.
The games were previously held in Botswana in 2018, while the next edition of the event will be held in Malawi in 2022.