Despite being recognised as sport for more than 30 years dart sport is facing a bleak future because of underfunding, The Villager Sport can report.
The sport of darts was popular in the 1970s but 24 years on, the sport is no longer the same according to the Secretary-General of the Namibia Darts Federation (NDF) Lot Noabeb.
“In the 70s, it was a white man sport because it was during apartheid because black people were not given the opportunity.
“The sport is down because it is not an income generating sport and we simply do not have a sponsor,” said Noabeb.
Noabeb also added that, “Whenever we have a darts championship each players normally has to use his or her own money. When going to other African countries to take part in events some players travels with buses while those who can afford use planes”.
Between 2005 and 2010 the country used to have a darts league but due to financial constrains the league could no longer continue.
The federation receives N$ 20 000 every year from the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) for administration purposes.
“Even without sponsors we used to have a league but it is no longer the case because the players saw it difficult to continue digging deep into their own pockets. The other reason why we don’t have the league is because whenever a region hosts an event, there are no benefits for the host because the money goes to the winners,” said Noabeb.
Darts is a traditional pub game, commonly played in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth countries.
Despite being stereotyped as a pub or bar sport it is becoming a continental sport and Namibia is one of the few countries in the SADC region that plays the sport.
Countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe are the two darts power houses in the region like Bostwana, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland are fast emerging.
The sport of darts is not an Olympian sport as it is not played at major sporting events such as the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games.
Namibia has over eight darts clubs countrywide and the number is expected to grow in few years to come.
“People have a wrong perception of the sport because it is mostly played in bars and pubs and in Namibia we want to take out the sport from those places in order to create a positive awareness. It currently played in Windhoek, Oranjemund, Rosh Pinah, Aus, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. I see more clubs in few years to come,” said Noabbeb.
Meanwhile new darts clubs are about to start in Katima Mullilo and Rundu while Oshana Region used to have one but is no longer in existence.
Noabeb also said the federation has a new coordinator in Windhoek who is responsible for the development of the sport with similar moves in other towns to follow soon.
“Tsumeb is soon to start with one, Rundu is having one, Katima is also having but it is not active. Oshana was having in the past but is dead now.
“We have Kathy O’Mally who is responsible for the development only for Windhoek but we are looking at having coordinators in other towns as well,” he said.
The federation is also busy engaging with the ministry of National Youth Service, Sport and Culture (NSSC) in order to familiarise the sport amongst the youth.
“We want to introduce the sport in schools and we are busy engaging with the youth ministry. No, we haven’t been in contact with the ministry of Education or the Namibia School Sport Union (NSSU) yet but we will look at creating partnerships with them one day,” said Noabeb.