Top coach calls for teachers’ recognition

By Michael Uugwanga

HENK Botha coach of Tokyo Olympic Games silver medallist sprinter Christine Mboma has said that Namibians should start to give credit to school teachers especially primary teachers who hardly get the recognition they deserve from the general public.

Botha was speaking to Confidente Sport ahead of the 2021 World Athletics U-20 Championships slated for August 17 to 22 in Kenya.

When athletes excel globally, no one seems to give credit to teachers as most credit only goes to the athlete and the coach, forgetting that athletes’ talents are discovered at schools.

Mboma who won a silver medal at the just ended Summer Olympic Games, Beatrice Masilingi who finished in sixth place in the 200m, Elvis Gaseb, Ndawana Haitembu, Carien Oosthuizen and Nandi Vass are the athletes chosen to represent the country at the U-20 World Championships and their talent was discovered at primary schools during sport activities.

Olympian Mboma was discovered at her former school Shinyungwe Combined School in the Kavango East region, while Masilingi’s talent was identified at Noordgrens Secondary School in the town of Rundu also in the Kavango East.

“Where do you start with sport? You start with sport at the grassroots level in schools. We cannot have great heroes if we cannot start at the grassroots level and we can only thank the system. I want to thank all coaches such as teachers that have been working so hard at primary level and we need to thank all other administrators,” said Botha.

Mboma who is fresh from setting the world alight at the Olympics will be the main attraction at the World Athletics U-20 Championships in the 200m and in the 4x400m relay, while her partner and close friend Masilingi will also be competing in the 100m, 200m and in the 4x400m relay.

Gaseb will be competing in the men’s 100m, Haitembu in the 4x400m relay, Carien Oosthuizen in the 4x400m relay and Nandi Vass also in the 4x400m relay.

Team Namibia U-20 has so far received a financial boost of N$150 000 from First National Bank and N$70 000 from the Road Fund Administration for the tournament.

Botha added: “I would like to thank the sponsors for investing in our athletes for giving them the opportunities to go and represent the country. I have a good relationship with our president (Athletics Namibia president, Erwin Naimwhaka) and Chalo Chainda (marketing officer at Namibia Sports Commission) … what an honour to have you to make this possible… I am confident that we are going to see a big surprise at the championships.