By John Tuerijama
THE shocking state of sport facilities around the country has been laid bare during a two-week fact-finding mission by the National Council Standing Committee on Gender, Youth and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which recently visited the Kavango, Erongo, Omusati, Oshana and Otjozondjupa regions.
The fact-finding mission took place to assess the challenges and successes of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, when it comes to constructing and upgrading sport facilities, while also looking the state of hostels, which are meant to accommodate the youth in the different regions, when they attend sporting events. In an exclusive interview with Confidente, standing committee chairperson, Ambrosius Kandjii, said that the fact-finding mission had uncovered that absolutely nothing was happening in Eenhana, where youth have little hope of ever participating in any sporting event.
“There is an incomplete sports field, whose construction started some 13 years ago, and the reasons for its non-completion are unknown. There is no standard sporting complex in the entire region, and that situation is extremely worrisome,” said Kandjii.The Katutura Central Constituency Councillor said the only visible structure is a pavilion.
“There is a serious outcry from the locals, as the youth are getting lost in the process, with no prospects for them to compete in any sport of their choice,” said the disappointed Kandjii.
The former Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service sport officer said that the situation in Outapi in the Omusati region was just as dire, especially for people who value sport as a vehicle to overcome poverty.
“The construction of a sports field in Outapi is still in its infant stages, as only a fence has been erected. The region is totally left out, in terms facilities, as the young sportsmen and women have to travel long distances, to towns such as Oshakati in the Oshana region,” he said.
“The status quo in Outapi is a serious setback for the youth, and the situation has been negatively affected, because these regions have for the past financial years received nothing from Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), to construct, rehabilitate or maintain sport fields.
“The capital projects of the ministry of sport have been severely compromised, as the youth hostels and incomplete sport fields are totally dilapidated, because the budget of the ministry has been cut aggressively,” said Kandjii. He said the regions have been sidelined and cannot play a pivotal role, in by having representatives in the country’s national teams.
“During our assessment, we have had audiences with mayors, sport officers and governors, who all expressed dismay about the standard of sport facilities and youth hostels. The Oshakati Independence Stadium can’t even host a premier league game, because of its poor maintenance; the stadium is simply not up to standard,” Kandjii said.
He said that there is no support from Windhoek, and the ministry can hardly do anything to support the upkeep of the stadium.
However, the standing committee was impressed with the Erongo region, whose sports fields in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay are primarily being maintained by the municipal councils. “These fields are in top condition, and because they are maintained by the councils, there is a huge difference, compared with those supposedly being maintained by the ministry of sport,” emphasised Kandjii. “The current status of our sport fields in the northern parts of the country is a clear testimony that there will never be any hosting of international competitions there, until such a time that standard sport complexes are built and youth hostels are rehabilitated.”
He said there is no way that sport codes such as hockey, rugby and cricket will thrive in the northern parts of the country, because there are simply no facilities at all.
“The only sport codes making headway in the northern parts of the country are volleyball and basketball, and there are also no facilities for people with disabilities, despite the fact that we have world-acclaimed Paralympians, who undoubtedly put Namibia’s name on the world map,” said a worried Kandjii.
“We will compile a report, with recommendations, to the National Council for their perusal, and eventually submit the final product to the line ministries and stakeholders. What we truly want is to set up a monitoring system, in terms of what has been reported on,” Kandjii said.
He said the situation is dire and the current allocations to the ministry of sport are “so frustrating”.
Kandjii said government needs to take a bold decision about rescuing sport in the country, so that Namibia can compete successfully on the international stage.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015