Minister warns against infighting

By John Tuerijama

WITH the Namibian sports fraternity infested with news of infighting and bickering the Minister of Sports, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni this week warned the nine newly appointed commissioners of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) of infighting.

During the announcement of the new NSC’s board Uutoni called on the commissioners to carry out their duties with integrity and unity of purpose. He warned the new commissioners not to concentrate only on Windhoek-based sport activities but to embark upon rural sport development in the regions.

Uutoni further said that Namibian youth in some regions are deprived of access to certain sport codes, as they are located in the remotest areas of the country. He said, “Namibian youth have a right to be exposed to various sport codes and young people have been neglected for a very long time.”

NSC Board Chairperson Joel Matheus during the announcement ceremony said he was privileged and honoured to lead the NSC board for another three-year term, adding that with the mixture of old and new members he has a strong team to take Namibian sport to the next level.

“I have a strong team of commissioners who will respond to the needs of Namibian sport in the hope of forming a purpose as advised by the minister. I have a capable team to take Namibian sport to another level by overcoming some of the challenges and with the unique individuals and given the financial challenges we will overcome.

“Sport is a great factor of integration. In our very diverse and individualised societies sport is the best, in some cases, even the only, bond that links people with the community, regardless of social, racial, political background. In this case sport creates identification and inclusion,” Mathews said.

He added that, regardless of the challenges, Namibian athletes were making significant strides. “Over the past few years we have witnessed how some of the Namibian sport men and women participating internationally have [become] world class athletes and won medals at those different platforms.”

Minister Uutoni in turn reaffirmed government’s commitment to build a caring, united and socially cohesive Namibia and called on the incoming commissioners to work toward the full realisation of the NSC strategic plan for 2018-22, which is the roadmap to guide all sports activities in the country.

The plan has five strategic key objectives that include the enhancement of sport development and participation; improving sports management capacity, ensuring compliance to sports legal and  regulatory framework; promoting financial self-reliance in sports and enhancing national excellence.

The commissioners bring a wealth of sport experience as most of them are professionals in the sporting industry, he noted. “We have a strong knowledge in leadership, financial management, human resource development and the practice of law within this crop of commissioners.”

Uutoni pointed out that one of the important tasks of the commissioners is to advise him on the needs of athletes in the country. He also warned them not to promote sport in Windhoek only but to take sport development to the rural areas.

He further advised the newly appointed commissioners to work with unity of purpose and to avoid infightings by all means. The youth have a right to access various sport codes but have been neglected for too long, he remarked.

The new commissioners are Dr Marius Johannes (Namibia Powerlifting and Weightlifting Federation), Werner Jeffrey (Tertiary Sports Association of Namibia), Karen Mubonenwa (Namibia Women in Sport Association), Erica Beukes (Namibia Schools Sports Union), Nicklause Nghumono (Disability Sport), Linda Chicalu (legal practitioner), Tomas Mbeeli (Namibian Rugby Union), Alna Similo (Athletics Namibia) and Joel Matheus (Namibia Volleyball Federation).