The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo has revealed that he is not obliged to attend major sporting events in the country saying the responsibility lies with the Namibia Sports Commission.
This is despite his deputy predecessor Pohamba Shifeta being synonymous with all sports events during his tenure as a deputy Minister of Sports.
Ekandjo told The Villager Sports in no uncertain terms that, “Do not ask me those questions that the responsibility lies with the Namibia Sports Commission and not the Ministry”.
In South Africa’s Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula is ever present at that country’s sporting events irrespective of the sport codes unlike our own minister who was only seen at some boxing events.
The Villager Sport also discovered that on numerous occasions, Ekandjo had been snubbing invites from associations such as the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) last month, when the Welwitschias played friendly matches at the Dr Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium last month against South Africa’s top rugby clubs, Western Province and the Blue Bulls.
Another big invite, Ekandjo snubbed was the official launch of the 2014 TN Mobile Africa Women Football Championships that took place in May with Namibia hosting the women’s biggest football showpiece on the content in October this year after he was expected to officially launch the event.
Some sport leaders of federations and associations in the country expressed their disappointments regarding the minister not attending their events.
Ralph Ludwig, president of Namibia Darts Federation said the federation had been inviting the office of the minister in particular Ekandjo through the NSC but its calls were never answered.
“ We do go through the right channels by informing the NSC to invite the minister but we had never seen him before. We would love to see him at our events,” said Ludwig.
Kallie Grunslosch, president of Namibia Endurance Ride Association put blame on his association for having not invited the minister to their events despite admitting that he wants to see the presence of the minister.
“We have never invited him at our sporting events but only the NSC who have been giving us good support. Off-course want to see him at our events,” said Grunslosch.
Sport expert and NSC vice-chairperson, Amos Shiyuka refused to comment.
“No comment on that,” he said.
Sports Writer at Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), Hesron Kapanga questioned the appointment of the minister of sport in the country.
“The question is, Is he a sport person because we need to put sport people in the ministry. Also the other thing is, does the minister get invites from the federations and associations or not? I personally do not know who to be blame in this matter, whether is the minister or the federations or associations,” said Kapanga.
Meanwhile, Ekandjo has accompanied the Namibian team that left for Glasgow, Scotland to take part at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games that takes place later this month from the 23rd till the 3rd of August.