NSC underpins bodies during Covid-19

By Michael Uugwanga

THE chief administrator of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Freddy Mwiya has said that they will continue to engage and support federations and associations during the lockdown period by means of regular communications and updates as a way of showing solidarity.

All sporting activities in the country are currently on hold after President Hage Geingob issued a directive in March that all mass gatherings and sporting activities must be suspended until further notice, while the country focuses its resources on curbing the further spread of Covid-19.

Covid-19 continues to affect local athletes though, who make a living out of sport and a further lockdown could worsen their economic plight. Although the government has introduced an Emergency Income Grant of N$750 for the worst affected people, including athletes, that may not be near enough to make up for their losses, especially for professional boxers who earn between N$30 000 and N$50 000 from a single fight.

Speaking to Confidente Sport, Mwiya said despite the change in circumstances, it is business as usual in terms of communication with sport federations and associations regarding their future plans. The employees at NSC are currently working from home and along with the entire nation, the NSC and all associated athletes are all helping curb Covid-19 by staying put.

“Like any organisation the virus has affected operations, as such NSC is no exception. We had to close business and operate from home as a directive was given for all activities to be on hold. However, athletes are to keep themselves active as individuals. All international and national events are on hold until such time the situation normalises. We are still supporting sports activities through electronic [communications],” Mwiya said.

He further said he feels pity for the federations and associations, who have been hobbled by the lockdown as well as financial constraints, as they will have to wait for the national budget for 2020/2021 that is yet to be tabled due to the suspension of Parliament in March.

“As a state-owned enterprise, since the budget is not tabled government has made provision on how the agencies can operate, as it was already announced in Parliament how all ministries and state-owned enterprises will operate until such time the budget is tabled. We are calling upon all sports lovers and Namibians to respect the lockdown initiative,” he emphasised.

With government in the fight against Covid-19 having to redirect funds earmarked for various ministries and agencies, sports bodies may have to further tighten their belts this year as they are likely to see a further reduction in the budget of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, which bankrolls the activities of the NSC in terms of sport development.