SCHOOLS in southern Namibia are gearing up for the second edition of the Inter-Regional Senior Schools Soccer Challenge set for 30 June to 2 July at Keetmanshoop.
The annual tournament was launched last year to compensate for the lack of proper promotion and assistance to football at grassroots level in the //Karas and Hardap regions.
"The majority of players in these two regions are extremely talented and skilled. Most of the time, they are overlooked by national scouts due to a lack of school soccer and funds," explained the tournament's coordinator, Rhuuksie ||Garoëb.
"Soccer starts at school level, and by grooming upcoming players, we will be able to cater for league clubs, and in turn to the national level at different age groups.
The non-profit initiative, whose patron is Hardap governor Esme Sophia Isaack, is reliant on assistance from the private sector to fund its operations", he added.
The inaugural edition was hosted at Rehoboth, where 14 schools participated, with Mariental High School crowned champions after beating Rehoboth High School in the final.
"We, therefore, humbly ask for sponsors to help this cause. Without the youth, there is no future in Namibian football.
The success of the previous tournament has ignited interest from schools in Windhoek and Swakopmund, as well as football academies."
Several former Brave Warriors stalwarts are expected to conduct coaching clinics for the players, and engage in friendly matches against yet to be identified opponents.
Through the platform, the organisers are keen to emphasise the importance of education to the participants; raise awareness and encourage youth against drug and alcohol abuse; promote young talent to the next level so that they are not overlooked; and to raise and nurture community awareness and participation by providing high quality football.
"Hopefully, it will become the biggest youth tournament not only for schools, but football academies as well. This year's event will be hosted under the theme 'Sport is Life - Reach for the Stars'," ||Garoëb noted.
The upcoming tournament will be officially launched on 20 June at Keetmanshoop.