By John Tuerijama
WITH Namibia having recently okayed the sports categorisation policy, as well as the long-awaited sport rewarding policy, Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) sport development officer Mariet Opperman has urged federations affiliated to the Commission to upgrade their constitutions. Opperman expressed concern in an interview with Confidente that both federations and associations affiliated to the NSC have constitutions that are sorely outdated. Opperman, who took over the reins of the Commission’s sport development office from Salome Iyambo, said the sport federations need a database that records the history and personal information of athletes. She said the task of getting sport administrators to change their attitudes was also daunting, but she was nonetheless determined to make a difference before her contract comes to an end early next year. She added that federations do not have constitutions, as required, and operate in a vacuum – a situation that was tantamount to corrupt practices. A good constitution would serve as a primary guide to organisations and would ensure that there is no favouritism and discrimination against athletes. Opperman, who hails from Gobabis, said she has engaged the national sport codes to ensure they have their constitutions in place. She is also intent on working with smaller sport codes, especially with the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU), in the hope of having young athletes’ information documented. The official urged sport administrators to do away with conflicts of interest and instead concentrate on being good administrators of sport. “I am so passionate about sport because sport gives one confidence in life and it teaches one the qualities needed in life to overcome challenges.” Opperman said that honesty in sport was imperative and helps both athletes and administrators to obey certain rules and laws and that teaching young athletes from an early age through sport will see sport development reach another level. She said since taking over the position in an acting capacity she has engaged a number of institutions, such as the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NASFAF), to assist athletes who are doing well in tertiary education. She has also approached the Frank Fredericks Foundation to see how best it can assist athletes from previously disadvantaged communities. Opperman noted with sadness the lack of sport facilities in the regions, which she said hampers the introduction of some sport codes. To remedy this situation, she plans on launching a strategic plan with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The determined Opperman also plans on engaging the City of Windhoek to consider renaming some streets after athletes who do exceptionally well during international competitions, like the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games, including the All African Games. Opperman comes with a wealth of experience after having been a coach, an athlete and sport organiser, during her illustrious career. She plans to assist sport administrators wherever possible, even after she retires to the family farm in the Omaheke region next year.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015