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Squash faces facility dilemma

Mon, 1 February 2016 04:14
by Andreas Kathindi

The Namibian Squash Association (NSA) has only been able to use its donated glass court scarcely due to lack of funding to maintain the usage of the facility, confirmed NSA technical director, Tyc Kakehongo.

Although The Villager has not been able to establish the worth of the state of art facility, on international markets a glass court would cost between 25 000 and 40 000 euros (N$445 000 and N$710 000).

Kakehongo said, “The objective of the glass court was to utilise it in places where they do not have squash courts, but we have not been able to do so because to use it, you need man power, when it comes to setting it up and breaking it up and the funding to pay for that labour is just not available to the NSA”.

The association which receives an annual grant of N$20 000 from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) scarcely uses the glass court due to the funding that it needs and last utilised it in September last year.

Although the glass court has not been in use since the Namibian Open Squash Championships in September last year, they were donated as part of an initiative to get squash into the regions as currently the sport is mainly played in Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Orangemund.

In 2013, NSA signed a N$1.5m sponsorship agreement with Trustco and Svenya Snydera of Trustco confirmed to The Villager Sport that the agreement is still on going.

“We still have plans to get the sport into the regions but right now, because of the funding we get from the Namibian Sports Commission (NSC) due to the grading of sport, we are unable to do so. Squash is very facility-centric. It is not like soccer which can be played anywhere,” Kakehongo stated.

He added, “We are trying to create visibility for squash nationwide and re-diversify the sport but facilities remain an obstacle.”

He said the NSA previously wrote to the City of Windhoek requesting for land of 27 0000 square meters to build facilities on. Currently, the only squash courts in the regions are located in army bases across the country, which Kakehongo noted are remnants from the pre-independence era, however are now in a dilapidated state due to lack of use.

“Time-wise it is impossible to say when we can get the plan into action as money is the only obstacle to going out into the regions. It is also difficult to also make headway through the school route, because in order to register with the Namibia School Sports Union (NSSU), you have to be active in eight regions, so it is a bit of a catch 22 situation for us,” he said.

Kakehongo was however adamant that the future of squash in Namibia is not altogether bleak as there are young talents rising. Namibia finished fourth out of five countries at last year’s U-19 All Africa Championships held in Gaborone, Botswana, with a relatively young team, including Kyle Kriel who was 16 at the time.

“Kyle is already ranked in the top 10 of the senior men’s national rankings and his development, and that of many other young local players is very encouraging. We want to see the kids coming up to beat some of the best players in the country,” he said.