At a moment when the country’s football fraternity needs more than just financial blessings, solar energy private company HopSol Solar Power in partnership with the BKK Auas Sport Trust launched the HopSol Youth Soccer League in Windhoek this week.
The private company has forked out N$1 million for the next three year to run the league that will kick off in Windhoek. The youth games that will see school and youth teams compete are expected to start on 24 February and conclude on 28 October 2017.
At the launch, BKK owner and Namibia football icon Collin Benjamin pointed out the social disparities within the football fraternity especially in grassroots development. Benjamin, who will be running the league with other BKK members said that Namibia is blessed with an abundance of soccer talent thus he is passionate about addressing the social challenges, using soccer as a tool to drive change within the country.
“I believe it is imperative that, for soccer to advance and talented athletes to be identified in preparation for high level competition, proper and structured development programs should be in place,” said Benjamin.
With the aim to broaden the current scope of organised youth soccer, revive the school’s soccer culture in reference to the old days when school rivalry was active, the creation of the Hopsol Youth Soccer League by BKK Auas Sports Trust is an initiative to provide a platform for soccer development for uunder-9 to under-19 age groups.
“We want to reach out to the outskirts of Windhoek where we have learners from Havana Primary School compete with children from town. It is time we make talents meet and the locations are going to talk about it was in the old days. We also want to bring individuals from different social, ethnic and racial backgrounds together. We want to see the best of these learners rub shoulders and interact about other important things too such as their academics and how they can help each other.”
The league will look at sweeping about 1000 young people off the streets to the game of football. HopSol Solar Power has supported youth soccer development in the past, giving hundreds of children the opportunity to develop themselves and promote a sense of cohesion among children from different backgrounds.
About 650 to 700 children from different clubs and schools are expected to participate in the league this year. Other focus areas of the league will be to build up sustainable competition structures that will allow continuous integration of potential new clubs, schools, academia and development programmes, while creating opportunities for all classes of society, culture and nationality to come together to celebrate the joy of football. This year, the league will only focus on the boys but if interests from girls’ teams knock on the doors, league administrators say the idea will be warmly welcomed.
The league in the meantime is in the process of sourcing more funds to cater for transport, medical aids and food for the participants during games.
A total of 108 matches are expected to be played. The league is expected to host 60 teams with 10 teams per age category. Games will be played at around 10 soccer fields in Windhoek with sports clubs such as SKW, DTS, Ramblers and schools such as St Pauls’, St Georges, Academia, Van Rhyn sport field and others already having availed their facilities. Team will enter for free but in return need to be committed to the fixtures of the games.
The league currently stands independent but Benjamin said talks to work with the Namibian Football Association will be underway.