N$1,5 Million for Cossasa Ball Games (allAfrica.com)

A 200-strong delegation of about 150 athletes and 50 officials leave for Bulawayo, Zimbabwe this morning to compete in the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) Ball Games.

The Namibian team’s participation has been secured following a N$1,5 million sponsorship from the Namibian government, which includes N$800 000 for transport and accommodation in Zimbabwe, and N$400 000 for a training camp and accommodation in Windhoek prior to their departure.

Namibia will compete against four other countries – Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and the hosts Zimbabwe in six different sport codes at u13 and u17 level.

At a press conference on Monday, Namibia Sport Commissioner Ndeulipula Hamutumwa said the government was looking at ways to transform the Namibia School Sport Union (NSSU) to try and achieve their target of making Namibia a winning sporting nation.

“We cannot create a sporting nation if the NSSU is not correctly funded. We must give the youth enough competition and we will help to restructure the NSSU. We want to put more emphasis on grassroots level participation so that we are well prepared at the national level. The NSSU is the foundation and backbone of our sporting nation and if we don’t support it we won’t have a winning nation,” he said.

The national coordinator of the NSSU, Solly Duiker said that Namibia was at the forefront of initiating the COSSASA Ball Games and would strive to enlarge it.

“COSSASA was established in Namibia in 1999 and since then the NSSU has hosted the most Games, whether it be the Ball Games or athletics championships. Initially COSSASA was just for Under 19 athletes but then we scaled it down to Under 17 and later also introduced an Under 13 category for primary school athletes. In 2014 we brought in two new codes and next year we will introduce two more codes in hockey and cricket. We also want to bring other countries in like Angola and we hope to have eight teams participating next year,” he said.

Duiker said they were in discussions with South Africa to try and include them in future, but would have to change their constitution to accommodate them.

“South Africa does not have a school sport association, so their school sport codes resort under individual sport federations. A lot of school sport codes in South Africa like football, netball, volleyball and rugby want to be part of the Cossasa Ball Games, so we are revising our constitution to see if we can accommodate them,” he said.

Last year Botswana were the overall winners, followed by Zimbabwe, with Namibia coming third and Zambia fourth.

Namibia won three gold medals through its Sevens Rugby team and boys and girls tennis teams. It also won four silver and five bronze medals.

The Namibian delegation will be headed by Chef de Mission Fidelus Tibinyane, NSSU representative Anji David, genral team manager Paulus Mutangara and assistant general team manager Erica Beukes.