Netball Namibia’s hopes to kick-start the sport’s revival with a Netball Championship in Rundu fell through after the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture (MYNSSC) failed to keep their promise to provide transport for participants.
The championships, which were supposed to take place on the weekend of 31st January to 1st February in Rundu, was expected to draw competition surrounding regions, Zambezi, Kavango East and West, Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Omusati and Kunene set to participate did not happen as Netball Namibia could not handle the travel logistics required to pull in all the players and other participating parties.
Public relations officer of Netball Namibia, Rebekka Goagoses, said that the Ministry had approved their request for transport, to transfer all the participating members from their regions to the venues, however later informed them that they would no longer be able to.
“As it stands, the resolution is not in our hands, but the Ministry’s. We suggested a new date for them, but they have not gotten back to us yet,” Goagoses said.
She further told the The Villager sports that Netball Namibia is looking out for other options in order to kick-start the year for the sport.
Efforts to obtain comments from the Ministry proved fruitless after this reporter was sent from department to department without resolution.
Despite the postponement of the first senior national championship after All Namibia Netball Association was rebranded to Netball Namibia and the team is still optimistic in their plans to restore the quality of local netball.
The championship was supposed to be used as a platform to start identifying and scouting potential national team players following the team’s abysmal performances in international competitions last year.
“In the past, players were invited for trials prior to any national or international event and would spend only a few days together. So Netball Namibia is of the opinion that to scout for talent and incorporate them into a training group will be the best option,” said Goagoses.
Despite this setback, she is hopeful the plans of association will press forward with the African championships coming up in May or June this year with the World Netball Championship slated for August, which unfortunately Namibia has not qualified for.
She further explained that Netball Namibia is looking at the Independence celebrations as their closest test.
“We are going to go ahead with the plans we have but will need to start soon. We will be working in connection with the regions, scouting and identifying players and recommending them to their respective coaches to include them in the training programs,” she said.
As to last year’s first team members of the national team, Goagoses warned, “No player is guaranteed a place in the national team. A player can only secure a place through commitment, willingness to represent the country and availability of the players. So it means that any position is open to be filled by any player who has the skills and knowledge of that particular position.”
With regards to the African Championships she said, “The African Championships will be once again be a great platform and opportunity for our players or team to participate and expose ourselves with the best in Africa, as we had last September in Botswana at the World Championships qualifies where we played against most of the countries. It will be a different approach as we learned a lot from that experience.”
However, Netball Namibia has ambitious plans, she cautioned, that it will of course take time before they can reap the fruits of the new approach, but remain quite optimistic that it will eventually yield results.