Fifty players called up to U20 Warriors camp

Competition is fierce to be selected for the U20 Cosafa Cup in September, hosted in Mozambique.
Phillipus Josef
The national under-20 men’s football team, known as the “Young Warriors”, gathered for a week-long training camp at the NFA Soccer House in Katutura.

The camp began on Monday, with over 50 players from various tiers of Namibian football, including clubs in the Debmarine Premier League, NFA first and second divisions, and a solid number of selections from the regional teams in this year’s U20 Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup tournament held in Gobabis and won by Omusati.

After this week’s camp, the squad will be trimmed to 30 players who will participate in the official training camp set for August. This will be a vital stage as the team prepares for the U20 Cosafa Cup in September, hosted in Mozambique.

Furthermore, the tournament serves as a qualifier for the U20 TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations, scheduled for February next year.

The team is under the leadership of head coach James Britz.

In a telephone interview with Sport Wrap, Britz emphasized the increased intensity of the training sessions, for a more accurate player evaluation.

"The fitness levels are not up to par, so we have opted for a trial setup with double sessions throughout the week," Britz explained.

He also highlighted the significant work needed when the final team reassembles in August, particularly focusing on tactical and technical aspects.

Tjiunatjo Kakuenje, a 17-year-old defender from Kaizen Football Academy (KFA) in the second division, shared his thoughts on the training camp.

“The competition among us is quite high and intense, with everyone fighting for a spot. You can imagine the feeling of competing against 50 players all aiming to make the team," he said.

Kakuenje captained the national U17 team at the International Schools Federation (ISF) World Cup in China in May this year.

The Young Warriors' greatest achievement was reaching the final of the U20 Cosafa Cup in 2020, where they lost to Mozambique. However, despite the loss it was enough as they became the country’s first youth side to qualify for the African Youth Championship.