Namibia has set itself a target of finishing as the overall winner of the regional youth competition, the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) Ball Games, to be held in Windhoek from 23 to 26 August.
The COSSASA Ball Games will be contested by Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho in seven sport codes of basketball, volleyball, netball, tennis, cricket, hockey and rugby sevens.
Every year, COSSASA holds two different youth games - the COSSASA Athletics Games and the COSSASA Ball Games.
This year, the athletics event was held in Botswana in May, where Namibia finished as overall winner ahead of Zimbabwe, who had dominated the event since 2015.
The Namibian team collected 64 medals, including 26 gold, 21 silver and 20 bronze medals, while Zimbabwe had to settle for a second place finish. The host nation ended in third place.
Last year, Namibia finished third overall at the COSSASA Ball Games in Lesotho, behind Botswana and Zimbabwe, despite winning four gold medals in under- 17 football, U-13 and U-17 rugby sevens and U-13 netball.
The regional competition targets Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 age-groups.
The Namibia Schools Sports (NSSU) national coordinator, Solly Duiker, told the Windhoek Observer this week that they want to retain all the titles that the country won in Lesotho.
“Normally we have two COSSASA Games ever year. The one in Botswana was only for athletics, but this one in August is the ball games which includes various sport codes. Because Namibia is the defending champions in football, rugby sevens and netball we would like to retain the titles,” Duiker said.
Malawi and South Africa, who did not feature in the games in Botswana, will take part in the ball games this time around.
Duiker said Namibia has a lot of talented athletes who unfortunately lack support once they have completed their secondary education as most of them end up pursuing other careers.
“In other countries such Kenya, most of the athletes who fail to make it to tertiary education and have talents are normally recruited in the police or defence force,” Duiker said.
The aim of the COSSASA Ball Games is usually to select a team that will represent the country at various international competitions such as Youth Olympic Games, World Youth Games and at All-Africa Youth Games.