Sports administrators call upon the newly appointed Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo, to secure sufficient funding towards sports development following years of poor financial injection into sports.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba early last week axed the then Minister of Sport Kazenambo Kazenambo during his rather controversial re-shuffle, which saw Ekandjo’s appointment to be deputised by Juliet Kavetuna who replaces long-serving Pohamba Shifeta.
Many in the sports fraternity have questioned the logic in Ekandjo being appointed as the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture. To top it all, the re-shuffle brings in Kavetuna who is a total stranger to the world of sports.
V-Sports has thus asked different sports administrators what they think should be Ekandjo and his deputy’s priority areas. One sports administrator who prefers anonymity says he has never heard or seen Ekandjo or Kavetuna contributing to anything to do with sports, nor has he ever heard both contribute to sports-related debates in Parliament or elsewhere.
“How are they expected to deliver if they know so little and have shown no interest in sports? I think Sport is going to take another downturn, not only financially but the state of the already dilapidated facilities could be poorer,” he says.
The Namibia Football Association (NFA) president, John Muinjo says, the new minister should first embark on a need assessment exercise before anything else.
“He needs to do that even if it is during the much talked-about national sports conference but it would preferably be best to individually consult the sport codes,” he says.
Muinjo also says, sports - football in particular - serves as a bridge that brings people together and because of that, it deserves more funding.
“To really develop sports, more funding is needed and to execute that, proper planning is needed. I also think that communication channels must be known, especially those of the hierarchy, to work together in harmony,” he stresses.
He suggests that the new minister prioritises certain sport codes because some of those affiliated to the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) are family sport codes that need dire funding.
Namibia Hockey Union (NHU) former president, Jesse Schickerling (now a member of the Namibia National Olympic Committee Board) says, his concern is the lack of proper sports facilities; a situation that has negatively affected the development of local sporting activities.
How do you expect athletes to train and thoroughly prepare if the state of the facilities do not meet world standards? He laments.
Schickerling highlights countries such as Australia, the United States of America (USA) and many others that budget for medals even before any major sporting event.
He adds that in Africa, only Nigeria does that; it budgets with a specific amount of money for each athlete to secure medals at events such as World Championships, Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games.
“We are 22 years old in terms of independence, yet there is no high performance centre in the capital. So facility upgrades and funding must be Ekandjo’s priorities,” he says.
Namibia Cricket Board (NCB) chief executive officer (CEO), Graham McMillan on his part, calls on Ekandjo to be more vocal on the importance of re-introducing Physical Education (PE) at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels.
If PE was re-introduced, he says, learners would be exposed to a variety of sport codes and would be able to make sensible decisions when it comes to which sport codes to partake in.
“We need to determine our priorities,” he says.
Namibia Canoe and Raw Association president, Mike Haimbodi says, Ekandjo should vie for sports development in all regions.
“Taking different sport codes to the rural areas need funding. We have complained a lot about the poor funding that sees no development with Namibian athletes merely participating instead of competing at major sport events,” he laments.