By John Tuerijama
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob’s statement last week that football should fend for itself has been met with mixed feelings by the sports fraternity.
At the review of the Harambee Prosperity Plan last week, when asked to respond to a question about Government’s support to sport, Geingob said it was not a pressing priority, and that sport will not get more that what it already receives from Government, and thus must find extra funding elsewhere.
Geingob squarely blamed the precarious situation that sport is finding itself in on the incompetent sport administrators.
Confidente spoke to a number of sport administrators who weighed in with varying views on the President’s attitude towards sports.
Former Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) chief administrator, Rusten Mogane, said: “Maybe because of the current economic meltdown the President had to look at the key priority areas. I believe the President will not make such statements without carefully considering and evaluating the economic situation.”
Mogane said since sport does not feature in the Harambee Prosperity Plan it was time for the sport fraternity to look at how to generate their own funds.
Mogane said while he was the NSC chief administrator, he approached the current Minister of Sport, Jerry Ekandjo to present a revenue generating plan for sport.
“I have a formula which I proposed at different platforms in the past. This (funding of sport) is a situation that I personally saw coming,” said Mogane.
“Sport is predominantly played by the poor and will have difficulties in sourcing funds because they are not rich. But I think that all we can do is for Ministry of Sport, NSC and stakeholders to come together and see how best we can address the situation,” he stressed.
“You know, I am busy studying for a post graduate degree in management and I can really help reverse the situation sport is finding itself in,” he said.
Namibia Chess Federat i o n (NCF) president Otto Nakapunda, said it was evident that there is no political will in the leadership of Government.
He said sport contributes to the health of many young sportsmen and women and has positively contributed to the fight against the social ills in the country.
“It demonstrates that Government priorities are misplaced. Sport is also a solution to some economic challenges we face,” he said.
“When Namibian athletes win medals at international level they don’t get any recognition from Government. These athletes give mileage to this country and put the name of the country on the world stage, why not pump money into sport as a recognition of these great athletes,” asked Nakapunda.
Namibia Canoe and Row Association president, Mike Haimbodi said: “Getting funding is very difficult and the private sector has not been forthcoming.”
“This is really a step backward for sport in the country and instead of our athletes being competitive at sporting events they become participants,” he said.
“Other nations are injecting money into sport and have seen positive results. It is a very sad moment for sports in Namibia for the highest office holder in the land to say sport must find its own funding.”
Haimbodi advised that Government should source funds by imposing levies on some high-earning sectors similar to what they do in Botswana where levies from the diamond industry are channelled to sport development.
On her part, Netball Namibia secretary general, Imelda Neronga said she is very concerned with the attitude of Government towards sport.
She concurred with her compatriots that finding funds is a daunting task for sport administrators. Neronga argued that athletes like former sprint ace Frank Fredericks put Namibia’s name on the world stage but their accomplishments are virtually unknown.
She said sport has potential to promote a country and attract investors and tourists. She thus called on Government to reconsider its decision and provide more funding to sport.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015