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New Era Newspaper Thursday April 19, 2018

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NEW ERA | Thursday, April 19 2018 Mad Maroons close in on league title Page 22 SPORT Young Warriors to host Botswana on Sunday Page 23 SPORT They couldn’t stop me this time – Jonas … athletes receive warm welcome Otniel Hembapu Windhoek After his 2016 Rio Olympics participation was sadly blemished by allegations of sexual harassment that resulted in a marathon court case, Namibia’s most adored amateur boxing sensation Jonas Junias Jonas says his 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal raving performance is what his “witch-hunters” feared to witness in Brazil. Jonas, a 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, and fellow 2018 Commonwealth G a m e s g o l d medallist Helalia Johannes, y e s t e r d a y led Team Namibia’s r e t u r n from the recentlyconcluded Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, Australia, where the the medals table. Heaps of local sport enthusiasts, family members and general members of the public yesterday swarmed Hosea Kutako International Airport on the outskirts of Windhoek to grant Team Namibia, particularly Jonas and Helalia, a hero’s welcome and Golden boy… Amateur boxing wunderkind Jonas Junias Jonas in jovial mood as he proudly displays his gold medal from the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia. From the land of the brave… An overjoyed Jo-Ann Manuel (left), who is the Deputy Director of Marginalised People and Women in Sport in the line ministry, is seen here sharing a light moment with Namibia’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallists Helalia Johannes and Jonas Junias Jonas shortly after Team Namibia’s arrival yesterday. Photos: Strauss Lunyangwe hand as they touched down on home soil. And while the entire country is still ululating and basking in the historic achievements of the two athletes, for Jonas it was more than just scooping a gold medal at the just ended multisport international games. For pugilist it was about redemption and breathing a gush of fresh air into his blossoming boxing career. Heading to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there was never doubt that Jonas was one of Namibia’s top medal hopefuls but a dramatic twist of events on the sidelines of the Olympics rested over allegations of having sexually harassed a housemaid, leading to his emotional derailment that later saw him knocked out of the games via a defeat. In a brief, moving speech yesterday, a partly teary-eyed Jonas said “they robbed me of this opportunity in Brazil (2016) but they could not stop me this time around”, adding that his recent gold medal winning performance in Australia was not birthed this year but was a manifestation of all the hard investments since 2014 when he was preparing for the 2016 Olympics, where he never really got a chance to display his full potential to the world. “I did it this time … I want to did to me in Brazil and how they robbed me of an opportunity but this time they couldn’t stop me,” he paused to leap back to his seat. Team Namibia was warmly received and congratulated by the line minister Erastus Uutoni and his deputy Agnes Tjongarero as well as senior staff members of the ministry, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC). Namibia to face Zambia in 2018 COSAFA Cup The 18th edition of the COSAFA Cup will make history as for the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) will take part in the regional football showpiece to be staged in South Africa’s Limpopo Province from The desire for all members of COSAFA to compete shows the value and importance of the tournament in developing skills on and off the pitch in Southern Africa, a key component of the event since “We are delighted that all of our members will take the opportunity to compete at the COSAFA Cup, which is not only a celebration of excellence in Southern African football, but also gives players, coaches and referees the chance to hone their skills in the international environment,” says Timothy Shongwe, COSAFA Executive Committee member – Competitions. 2015 winners Namibia will face four-time winners Zambia in while Lesotho take on Swaziland. Zimbabwe return as defending champions having claimed a re- - SAFA Cup title in South Africa last year and they will face the winner of Group B in powerhouse Angola, Botswana, Mauritius and Malawi. Hosts South Africa will take on the winner of Group A, which contains Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros Islands and Seychelles. There was also a major announcement during yesterday’s d r a w w h e n the prize money for the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship was handed over, totalling R1-million from sponsors Kwesé TV, which is the same amount that is also availed their male counterparts. South African captain Re- R500,000, while last year’s losing skipper Talent Mandaza from Zimbabwe received R250,000. Zambia collected R150,000 for third place and East African guest nation Kenya R100,000 for fourth. “We take great pride in being able to elevate the prize money for the COSAFA Women’s Championship to the same level as for our senior men’s competition to make a statement about how seriously we take women’s football in the region,” says COSAFA president, Dr Phillip Chiyangwa. South Africa and Zambia have each claimed four titles in the COSAFA Cup competition before, while Angola have three and Namibia celebrated their single success in 2015. - www. cosafa.com

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