Too many minor codes concern Tjongarero
By Michael Uugwanga
THE Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero has expressed concern over too many sport codes in the country of which she feels are of no use in a country with such a small population.
Namibia with a population of just over 2.5 million has about 48 sport codes of which all heavily rely on government funding in particular from the line Ministry that has for many years been under-funded, despite the importance of sports in any given country.
“Namibia is a country with a small population but it has over 40 sport codes and not everyone is a sportsperson or loves sport. You have other countries like Ethiopia and Kenya who have prioritised few sport codes. Maybe we should prioritise about five to 10 sport codes with the little money we put in … it is something that my ministry will be looking into.
“We (ministry) were expecting N$3 billion and it is not a joke. Sometimes you do not get what you want, because everyone wants more but as we are all aware we are in a situation where even if you want more you will not get what you want but to be grateful for what you get,” said Tjongarero.
Tjongarero made the remarks when asked on whether she is satisfied with the 2020/2021 budget allocation towards her Ministry amounting to N$306 860. About 60 percent of the N$306 million will go towards salaries, capital projects, bilateral commitments, Commonwealth membership, World anti-doping agency (WADA) and the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five; meaning the development of local sport will have to wait.
A country like Kenya home to the world’s best long distance runners, with a population of 51.39 million is home to about 38 sport codes, while Ethiopia, also known for producing some of the world’s best long distance runners with a population of 109 million, has only four recognised sport codes; football, boxing, distance running and basketball.
Tjongarero has been advocating for the government to prioritise certain sport codes such as football, rugby, boxing, netball, athletics, disability sport (Paralympics and Special Olympics) to be some of the few codes to benefit from the little funding her ministry gets from state coffers.
Although this time around the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service received an upgraded funding of N$306 million compared to the N$288 million it received during the 2018/2019 financial year, the amount is still way below in terms of better funding.
This year, the Namibia’s men senior cricket team will be going to the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20Men’s World Cup slated to take place from October 18 – November 15 2020 in Australia, however the Ministry of Sport is yet to avail funding towards Cricket Namibia as part of the team’s preparations.
“Normally we do give money to teams that have qualified to events. For now I cannot say how much we will be giving to Cricket Namibia. As a ministry we will have to sit down and decide how much we will give to cricket,” said Tjongarero.