The inaugural northern edition of the 2023 Bank Windhoek Ramblers Under 21 Soccer Tournament took place in Oshakati, marking a significant milestone for football in the region. The tournament, organised by Bank Windhoek, served as a platform for young players from northern Namibia to showcase their skills and compete at a competitive level. The event witnessed intense competition from Friday, 14 to Sunday, 16 July 2023, in Oshakati, at the Uukwangula Sports Stadium. It showcased brilliant attacking football from the participating teams.
In the grand finale of the tournament, Efidi Football Academy (FA) caused a major upset by defeating the tournament favourites, A-Class FA, with a narrow scoreline of 1:0. The final was a fiercely contested battle, with both teams displaying their determination and skill. Efidi FA's victory in the final made them the deserving champions.
After a closely fought group stage, A-Class FA, Diva FA, WE Academy, and Efidi FA emerged as the semi-finalists. The semi-final matches showcased end-to-end football, with both encounters providing exhilarating moments for the fans. A-Class FA faced off against WE Academy in the first semi-final, while Efidi FA went head-to-head with Diva FA in the second semi-final. Both matches were filled with skilful displays and goals, captivating the audience.
The tournament's group stages proved tightly contested, as teams displayed their skills and played with remarkable attacking prowess. The matches were filled with thrilling moments, showcasing the talent and determination of the young footballers. The intense competition ensured that every game was a spectacle for the enthusiastic spectators.
The tournament featured eight teams representing various regional football academies and associations: Diva FA, Okatana FA, Efidi FA, Ondangwa FA, Elnur FA, Alma FA, WE Academy, and A-Class FA. These teams brought together talented young players eager to make a name for themselves in the football world.
The tournament organisers expressed their satisfaction with the success of the event. The Bank Windhoek Ramblers U/21 Tournament provided a much-needed platform for the young footballers of northern Namibia to exhibit their talent and compete at a high level. The overwhelming response and the exciting matches witnessed during the tournament have left the organisers eager to return next year with an even bigger and better edition. The Chairperson of the Ramblers Soccer Club, Sedric van Turah, said the success of this inaugural tournament has set a solid foundation for the growth of football in Oshakati and the surrounding regions. The winners of the three top prizes received footballing equipment.
“On behalf of the Ramblers executive, I thank the management team of Bank Windhoek, who engaged with us to plan the Oshakati-based tournament. These types of games go a long way to ensure that youth soccer, up to the Under 21 level, gets a platform for our National Team scouts and Premier League teams to be offered the opportunity to see the talent showcased from where the soccer community's next superstars can be selected from,” said Van Turah.
The Bank Windhoek Ramblers Under 21 Soccer Tournament gives further exposure to youth academy players who could not play in the Namibian soccer calendar's Second Division, First Division, or Premier leagues. Bank Windhoek's Corporate Social Responsibility and Sponsorship Manager, Audrey Mostert, said that as a Connector of Positive Change, the Bank was delighted to have witnessed and provided a platform for the northern youth to express their raw talent on the pitch. "The young players carry much discipline, focus and determination. We wish them all the best," she said.
Player interviews and more action is available on the Bank Windhoek’s and Ramblers Soccer Club social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.