By Victor Angula at Oshakati
THE Oshakati Independence Stadium remains in a shockingly terrible condition years after it was abandoned by the Namibia Premier League (NPL). The stadium was inaugurated on the 20th of November 2003 by the then President Sam Nujoma, after having been built at a cost of N$20 million. With a seating capacity of 8,000 the stadium is the biggest in the North and hosted the matches of the Namibia Premier League, during the glory days of Oshakati City F.C. The physical infrastructure of the stadium is now so dilapidated that it resembles a village sports field rather than a once-upon-a-time FIFA- accredited state-of-the-art stadium. The soccer pitch is full of “potholes” and 70 percent of the grass has dried, except for weeds and other alien grass. Custodian of the facility, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service seems to have turned a blind eye to its condition. The stadium was built with a natural grass soccer pitch, an athletics track, volleyball, basketball and netball courts – all which are currently in disuse. Only the soccer pitch gets to be used occasionally for activities unrelated to sport, such as community fundraising events, school career fairs and political rallies. The athletics track is used only once in the year for the Old Mutual Victory Races. But, although the stadium has been idle for years due to its dilapidated state, it continues to retain a number of employees on the payroll of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service. When Confidente visited the stadium the official in charge, Sunday Haitembu, who identified herself as the ministry’s chief sport officer of the northern regions was confrontational and unwilling to speak to this reporter. Haitembu has been the stadium’s chief sport officer for not less than five years. “You were supposed to have done your homework, instead of coming here and ask me what the responsibilities of my office are,” Haitembu remarked, dismissing the journalist as incompetent. When contacted for comment Aina Shikesho, the chief public relations officer of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, said she needed to contact the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary before providing comment. Simon Kwedhi, a local football fan, expressed sadness over the state of the Oshakati Stadium. “To tell you the truth I’m not happy with the condition of that stadium. Those people only care about that stadium if it’s the heroes’ day celebration. They are killing our soccer. Just look, now we no longer have a team in the premier league next season. It’s their fault!” The sad thing about the Oshakati Independence Stadium is not only that it has been allowed to fall into a deplorable state after having cost millions of taxpayers’ money, but it also continues to drain the state in terms of salaries for the employees and security personnel stationed there.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015