The Namibia Basketball Federation (NBF) is operating without executive members since the resignation of its president, George Simata in April while major decisions are being by one person The Villager Sport has learnt.
The scenario is threating to take the once popular sport down to the doldrums despite heavy interest from schools and university students in partaking in the sport. Basketball used to be a favourite sport in areas like Rundu, Katima and Windhoek in its heyday but all that is left now are nostalgic memories of the past.
Research done by The Villager Sport also indicate that the bulk of the facilities set aside for the sport at a community level are fast turning into white elephants.
NBF’s development Officer, Francina Shilongo told The Villager Sport that, “I am the only person running basketball in the country because Simata resigned telephonically which is unprofessional. I am doing the administration and coaching courses alone”.
Shilongo also added that, “We were supposed to have our Annual General Meeting (AGM) this month but whenever I send invitation to them, all I find is myself sitting alone. The president, Vice-president, Secretary-General and the Treasurer are always not available. I am the only one running the affairs of basketball in the country at the moment,” she said.
Meanwhile, Simata said he resigned because of poor administration within the federation, saying that he handed power to Andrew Masango.
“Whenever I tried to organize meetings they (executive members) ended up not showing up and all they have been doing is pulling my other side of my leg. Yes we were supposed to have a congress this month (July),” said Simata.
Shilongo, however admitted to The Villager Sport that basketball is dead in the country, despite little progress taking place in towns such as, Ongwediva, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Rundu, Grootfontein and Katima Mulilo.
Shilongo also said that she had send letters to both the Directorate of Sport in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture (YNSSC) and to the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) in order to have the matter resolved, saying the federation is still waiting for responses.
“Basketball is dead or let me say that it is suffering from a natural death. I wrote letters to Dr. Vetumbuavi Veii and Shivute Katamba but up to now they haven’t responded to me. We do not have a league currently and we are also not going to take part in Regional Five Championships in Zimbabwe in December this year,” said Shilongo.
Shilongo also said that NSC has stopped funding NBF because it has qualified books (bad books).
“In 2012 we were given N$ 120 000 for the country’s U/20s preparations for the African Championships qualifiers and on top of that we received an extra amount of N$15 000 which up to now, nobody knows what happened and now the NSC said they will not give money until that money is recovered,” she said. Shilongo said, despite short comings she will continue to keep the sport alive.
“ I have done a lot since I was appointed a development officer in 2012. I took the U/20 side to the Zone Six in Zimbabwe both male and female teams. I managed to guide the U/17 side to a silver medal in the Zone Six last year in the country. I was also behind the opening of the high performance centre in Tsumeb and Swakopmund. We didn’t open one yet in Windhoek because they didn’t met the deadline.
Shilongo said, “I will continue to do the job wherever I can because I also played basketball and I want to help out in regions because those in regions have been asking me to go there and help out but I will first need the blessing from the directorate of sport. We are also invited to take part in the Copper Games in Tsumeb this year in October. ,” said Shilongo who is also an employee in the directorate of sport. As if the administrative and financial challenges are not enough to kill the sport it does not seem as if the motherboard of the sport has a clue on turning in driving the sport into a national favourite.