Newspaper Cup Organisers Wary of Age Cheats

THE organisers of The Namibian Newspaper Cup are on high alert for potential age cheats at this year’s tournament.

The competition’s chief sponsor, The Namibian, has instructed the Namibia Football Association to step up its surveillance in order to weed out cheats and avoid a repeat of last year’s reprehensible incident which resulted in the Hardap Region being disqualified from the tournament for fielding six overaged players.

Only players aged 20 or under are eligible for the competition, which will be held at Tsumeb’s Oscar Norich Stadium over Easter (18-21 April).

The editor of The Namibian, Tangeni Amupadhi, said such conduct was intolerable and defeats the purpose of the event.

“The adults who are cultivating this culture of cheating will be called to account. They should be taken to task,” Amupadhi said during the event’s launch earlier this week.

“This is something the NFA needs to address. NFA, I hope you take action. Hardap will still participate. Suspending Hardap was not going to do justice.”

According to the NFA, their investigation into Hardapgate has, due to various unspecified factors, yielded little success thus far.

“The Football Association, after considering the results of the internal investigation conducted by Hardap Region, came to the conclusion that the exercise was not nearly conclusive and had the hallmarks of avoiding to point out the real perpetrators,” said NFA secretary-general Barry Rukoro.

Instead, the NFA resolved to allow Hardap to continue participating in the competition.

“The reason is that if we did that we will penalise the wrong people as the players who qualify and will be selected to the team this year had nothing to do with what transpired last year. Secondly, the NFA is convinced that this was an adult initiated activity and the investigation did not do much justice to finding and pointing out those individuals,” said Rukoro.

“The [NFA] executive therefore has now assigned the secretary-general [Rukoro] to conduct his own investigation and report to the next meeting on the 18th April in Tsumeb.”

Rukoro said they had adopted a new strategy for the registration of the players for the tournament.

“This year, teams have been requested to submit the names of the initial group of 30 players by 25 March, which is much earlier than before.

“After submission of the lists the competition department will engage Home Affairs to verify the ages of the players.

“We hope this will go a long way to eradicating age-cheating in this competition,” Rukoro said.

Source : The Namibian