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NPG championships uncertain

by John Tuerijama




Uncertainty looms large on the staging of the annual Namibia Professional Golf Association (NPGA) Championship normally hosted in October.

Lead-sponsor Namibia’s largest mobile operator MTC announced late last year its discontinuation of the N$2.5m cash sponsorship, and instead opted to give the  generous cash injection to the country’s three major sport codes soccer, cricket and rugby.

the Namibia Premier League (NPL), Cricket Namibia (CN) and Namibia Rugby Union (NRU).

The Namibian leg of the popular Sunshine Tour has since its inception, seven years ago, attracted golfers from across Africa as well as from Europe with some of the recent winners having won major international golf tournaments.

NPGA President Andri Basson informed The Villager Sport that though MTC announced late last year not to renew the contract, the association is discussing with the mobile operator to have the decision overturned.

to have the decision overturned.

“I am in discussion with (Tim) Ekandjo (MTC’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Officer) to see if MTC can reconsider its decision. As you know, We are the only sport code that has, for the past seven years, religiously submitted audited financial reports timeously,” said Basson.

However, the NPGA President was not overly optimistic whether the discussions between him and Ekandjo would yield a positive outcome for the local golf enthusiasts and did not cut out the possibility to approach other sponsors to realise the coveted event.

He added that the annual NPGA championship has been listed on the 2012 Sunshine Tour calendar in which the Namibian event is slated from 4 to 7 October.

“We are at this moment not involved with any other company but we are working on it. I am sure that it will be fine to have a multi-sponsored event from the local corporate world,” proposed Basson.

 The fast-speaking Basson added that golf is a very expensive sport with only four Namibians having teed their skills during the past championships.

He said competition in South Africa is of a higher standard and unless one is a professional golfer, it is extremely difficult to raise funds to compete in the SA championships.

Ekandjo said they pulled out of golf because they felt they had made their contribution and that it was time to support a different sport code.

“The Sunshine Tour was basically a group of internationals with very few Namibians participating and in that light it does not do much for local development,” stressed Ekandjo.

However, the corporate officer has acknowledged that Basson is trying to discuss opportunities with MTC adding that they (MTC) do not see that happening because they have already pulled out.

Ekandjo wished the Namibian golf all the best and went on to encourage new sponsors to grab the opportunity and take professional golf championship to yet another level.