The future looks bright

Great football names made their debut at just 16 years of age, and there have been calls for giving some of the Young Warriors a taste of senior football as early as possible.

24 February 2021 | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

WINDHOEK



The Namibia Football Association (NFA) is responsible for grooming today's under-20 stars to become senior national team material.

As things stand, around 13 of the players in the under-20 squad still have a long way to go before they turn 20 and therefore still can play another Afcon before possibly graduating to the senior team.

Namibia failed to win any match at the under-20 Africa Cup of Nations but impressed many with the quality of play.

The perception of many local football pundits is that current under-20 players are showing glimpses of becoming even better than the current senior players.

The likes of skipper Steven Damaseb, Prins Tjiueza, Penouua Kandjii and Tjipenandjambi Carl Karuuombe have all been tipped for greatness.

NFA secretary-general Franco Cosmos acknowledge sthe amount of talent at the association's disposal. He believes it is up to the association to make sure that that the players are groomed in the right way.

“This is definitely a very talented team that will go places if they keep working hard.

“They are so good that you could actually even throw them into the deep end by introducing them to the senior national team.

“That decision will lay with the coaches and technical staff of the association, though,” Cosmos said.



Early debutants

Many other nations include their young talent in the senior national team at an early age.

The likes of Germany's Thomas Müller and England's Michael Owen made their senior debut at 18.

Another young player who was thrown into the deep end was USA's Freddy Adu, who was just 16 when he made his debut, while Mexico's Rafael Marquez made his at 17.

Football greats Diego Maradona of Argentina and Pele of Brazil made their senior debut at 16 years of age.

It is for this reason that many feel there is no need to delay the introduction of some of the Young Warriors to the senior team.

“I agree with what is said here because it is true that many of the successful football nations have done that.

“Like I said, it is up to the coaches and technical staff to make those decisions, but a smooth transition of players will be good and there is no better time or opportunity to hand some of the boys their professional debuts,” Cosmos said.

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