Netball players in hot water

By Michael Uugwanga

AFROCAT Lions Netball Club in the Khomas Netball Region could find itself in trouble with both Netball Namibia and the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) for breaking Covid-19 regulations after it held a training session on 13 May, despite restrictions imposed by government that suspended sporting activities, including training before the restrictions on some sport activities were eased.

Although under stage two of the current state of emergency, non-contact sport codes such as athletics, archery, badminton, bowling, canoe rowing, chess, cricket, cycling, swimming, karate, darts, dance sport (solo dancer mode), electronic sports, equestrian and horse racing, freshwater angling, fistball, golf, gymnastics, motor sports, seawater angling, shooting, tennis and table tennis, triathlon, waterski and squash have all been cleared to restart training under the same precautions, netball does not fall into that category since it is a contact sport.

Afrocat Lions were spotted training in Soweto at the old Black Africa Football Club training ground opposite A. Shipena Secondary School in Windhoek, but Afrocat Lions founder member Dimitri Bittler said he did not see anything wrong with his club conducting a training session, although he admitted that the players were not wearing masks and that the number of players exceeded the limit of 10.

Bittler, who at the time accommodated six players from his Afrocat Lions team in his house, said there was a conspiracy against him from some jealous netball rivals for his decision to accommodate netball players who have no place to stay.

“The team was just training and I do not think that we broke any rules. We were not doing physical training, like with a ball or so, we were just doing some jogging. The players were about 12 or 13. Maybe it is because the players were not wearing masks.

“Imelda Nerongo (Netball Namibia’s secretary-general) called me to ask me about it. Sometimes when people see lots of people in my house they think that it is a netball gathering, but rather it is the players that I am accommodating in my house,” said Bittler.

Meanwhile, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) in a press release issued on 6 May to all federations and associations, executives and secretaries-general of each federation and umbrella body reminded their members to comply with all the regulations.

NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya confirmed to Confidente Sport Desk, that his office received information about the alleged training session through WhatsApp, saying the matter will firstly be dealt with by Netball Namibia before it reaches the Commission.

Mwiya also said that his team will continue to monitor sport codes that are trying to break the rules set out in stage two of the national state of public health emergency.

“We were given a tip-off and my team visited the area and we took up the matter with Netball Namibia immediately. Internal disciplinary measures will be handled by Netball Namibia before NSC. They (Afrocat Lions) are cooperating with authorities as there was a misunderstanding from them (Afrocat Lions).

“We visit centres every evening while regional structures are monitoring in their respective regions. We also spoke with schools not to open their venues for given codes not yet authorised to train,” he said.