By Carlos Kambaekwa
The Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Pohamba Shifeta has thrown his weight behind the plight of domestic rugby.
Shifeta expressed concern over the laid-back attitude adopted by the majority of local corporate businesses whilst the sport is struggling to keep its head above water.
The youthful minister was speaking ahead of the National Under-20 rugby fifteen’s departure to the World Cup finals in Santiago, Chile, after the youngsters and the officials accompanying the team to the South American country paid a courtesy call on the line ministry in Windhoek yesterday.
“It’s a shame that young players representing our country in a global event are left to feed from hand to mouth with no sufficient incentives in place, while the entire nation is expecting them to represent Namibia with some measure of pride and to hoist the country’s flag high.”
Shifeta further stated that maybe the time has arrived for sport authorities to seriously revisit the country’s sport policy in order to make sport an attractive commodity for participants, which will ultimately make athletes to become more competitive.
He also urged sport disciplines to be organized and reminded them of their obligation towards the Namibia Sports Commission, such as the timeous submission of budgets and to follow set procedures in the application for funding.
Nevertheless, Shifeta applauded the boys and reminded them of their obligation when on national duty and said athletes should always keep in mind that from the moment they jet out to represent their native country internationally, they must forget about individual satisfaction and put the country’s pride first.
“The fact that you are continental champions is no mean feat and should you go there to compete and bring the trophy home, I humbly request you to remain focussed and never to allow yourself to be distracted by external forces.”
At the same occasion, the outspoken president of the Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) Dirk Conradie did not mince his words and took a swipe at what he termed deliberate sabotage by those who have the means to take domestic rugby to the next level.
“These are the continental champions – representing the African continent in a major World Cup event – yet people are pretending as if nothing is happening,” charged the clearly irritated legal practitioner.
However, Conradie applauded MTC for its continued support towards the development of rugby and urged other corporate institutions to follow suit.
The Namibian Under-20 team wrapped up their preparation in great fashion when the youngsters dispatched elder brother, the National Under-23 fifteen, by 36 points to 21 in an entertaining match at the Hage Geingob Stadium on Tuesday – a result that has certainly gifted the “Emerging Welwitschias” the much needed morale boost ahead of their assault in the eight-day global showpiece.