Namibia: Action Galore Awaits Namibian Sports

FOLLOWING several memorable performances during an enthralling 2019, the country's sports stars are expected to be in the thick of the action again this year.

The Namibian Sport pinpoints some prominent happenings to look out for in the coming months.

GEMS

The Desert Jewels are keen to build on a successful end to 2019, says Netball Namibia vice president: marketing and public relations Rebekka Goagoses.

The decision to spurn the Africa Netball Cup in favour of competition M1 Nations Cup in Singapore proved to be a master stroke that paid off handsomely for Namibian netball.

Namibia went through the tournament - featuring hosts Singapore, Republic of Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Botswana and Cook Islands - unbeaten to claim their maiden major international title.

"We remain hopeful, positive and optimistic, and believe that nothing is impossible if you have the drive and determination despite the financial challenges we are facing," Goagoses said.

"Having said that, we once again are appealing to the corporate world for financial contributions to assist us in realising this dream.

Preparations are key to any winning formula and plans are underway to ensure the team is ready for the African Netball Championship, Debmarine Pent Series, MI Nations Cup and 2021 Netball World Youth (under-21) Cup qualifiers.

The annual senior regional championships are also in the pipeline.

"We are indeed going to be busy and our expectations are to prepare the under 21 team adequately to go and compete in Uganda for a spot at the world stage. It will be milestone for us to see our feeder team at that level," said Goagoses.

"In the same vein our hopes and dreams are to also prepare the senior team with all those tournaments/championships to gain exposure, experience and tactics to be able to secure a spot at the world showpiece in Cape Town in 2023," she added.

SOARING EAGLES

Namibia's Eagles are looking forward to making their presence felt at the big bash in Australia in October. Namibia will return to a global cricket tournament for the first time since 2003 after securing qualification to the T20 World Cup in spectacular fashion.

Their qualification hopes appeared unrealistic after back-to-back defeats in their opening two matches at the T20WorldCup qualifier in Dubai. However, five games and five wins later, they booked their ticket to Australia.

Before taking up their spot in the eight-team 'first round' at the World Cup, Namibia host Netherlands between 21 March and 1 April; then face Scotland in Nepal (20-30 April); and tour the Netherlands to play against Oman, Netherlands and USA (18-30 June).

From 2-11 July, Namibia have ODI tri-series in Scotland against Scotland and Nepal before hosting PNG and USA in September.

NEW BROOMS

Having stabilised operations at Football House, the Fifa Normalisation for Namibia has one more task to fulfil, the primary objective of their mandate.

Next month, they oversee the Namibia Football Association congress where a new substantive leadership will be elected to reactivate a dormant domestic football scene.

The Brave Warriors will be looking to pick up the pieces from their underwhelming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations adventure with improved showings in qualifiers for the 2021 edition and 2022 Fifa World Cup.

They also have the African Nations Championship set for April in Cameroon to look forward to.

OLYMPIC HOPES

Helalia Johannes heads to the Tokyo Olympic Games as one of a handful of genuine medal prospects for Namibia, the other being amateur boxer Jonas Junias Jonas and Paralympic leading lights Johannes Nambala and Ananias Shikongo.

Veteran runner Johannes had an exceptional 2019, highlighted by bagging bronze in the Iaaf World Championships women's marathon in Doha, Qatar. That success, coupled with her storming runs at the Spar Grand Prix title in South Africa, puts her among those expected to contest for honours in Tokyo.

Her durability in stifling heat is a quality that many of her more fancied rivals did not possess in Doha.

Jonas, who still has qualifiers to contend with, will be on a redemption mission after his unsavoury experience four years ago in Rio de Janerio where he was detained for over six months over allegations of rape.

Nambala won gold in the men's T13 400m and bronze for 100m at the Para Athletics World Championship in November. He will look to use that winning momentum to aid his Olympic quest.

Meanwhile, veteran sprinter Shikongo will hope that he rediscovers his form in time for the Tokyo Games after an underwhelming outing in Dubai.

Shikongo was Namibia's most outstanding athlete at Rio, bringing home a gold and two bronze medals. Nambala weighed in with two silver medals.

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