WINDHOEK: The Namibian Under-20 national football team will no longer compete in the annual Eduardo Dos Santos Foundation International Tournament (FESA) in Angola this weekend.
Namibia wanted to use the tournament to prepare the U-20 team for the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Youth Championship to be held in South Africa during December this year.
A media statement issued by the Namibia Football Association (NFA) on Tuesday said the team will no longer travel to Angola, because the majority of the U-20 players are busy writing their end of the year examinations.
The annual competition was initially planned for last weekend, but was postponed to this coming Saturday in Angola’s south-west Namibe Province.
“We would have loved to be there in Angola. Every tournament you play is good for the team, and as we plan for COSAFA later this year, we need to keep the players together in a game like this,” said the U-20 team manager Jakes Amaning.
He explained that the players were available last weekend when it was the weekend for international friendlies.
Some of the U-20 players are writing examinations on Friday, and others will play for their respective Namibia Premier League clubs over the weekend.
“It will, therefore, be in vain to try and call up new players and prepare them properly in two days for the competition in Angola,” said Amaning.
Echoing Amaning’s sentiments was coach Ricardo Mannetti, who said it is bad that the tournament was postponed.
“We need to give them (players) a chance to study first, and hopefully we can get other games later before we go to the COSAFA Cup in December this year,” said Mannetti.
With the withdrawal of Namibia, only hosts Angola, Swaziland and Zambia are expected to take part in the annual tournament.
Last year, Namibia lost 0-1 in the final of the FESA tournament against Angola in the northern Cabinda province’s Chianzi stadium.