By Carlos Kambaekwa
The Namibian Hockey Union is pulling out all stops to ensure that Namibia has an internationally accredited hockey field fitted with an astro turf.
A clearly irritated president of the Namibian Hockey Union Jesse Schikerling blasted the City of Windhoek for adopting delaying tactics whilst paying very little attention to the demands to erect an astro turf, despite several requests by the union.
“According to our National Sports Policy, it is the responsibility of municipalities and local government and housing to erect recreational facilities and that’s why we have forwarded a formal request for the erection of an astro turf, way back in 1983 – that’s almost 28 years ago.”
Schickerling, a legal practitioner, says the construction of an astro turf would cost a staggering amount of N$5-million, but was quick to add that it would be money well spent.
“The absence of an astro turf has deprived the staging of international events on home soil as most top hockey playing nations refuse point-blank to come and compete against us because of inadequate facilities.”
Off the field, the union has received a welcome boost in the form of a reasonable sponsorship amounting to N$25,000 from Omina Supplies (Pty) Ltd, a local company dealing in mining equipment.
Omina is sponsoring the Namibian Hockey Union for the second year running and the managing director of the company Peter Davidson also threw his weight behind calls for authorities to erect an astro turf in Namibia.
“Namibia is loaded with a bunch of talented hockey players but the continued lack of adequate facilities is hampering progress in this regard. Our players have been competing against other nations, but the results always are a clear indication that Namibia is lagging far behind in terms of modern hockey and this can only be attributed to the absence of an astro turf.
“We certainly need to jack up our efforts and join hands if we are to realize our dream of staging any international hockey on Namibian soil, and I would therefore like to urge the Government and all other stakeholders to join forces and speed up the process of having an astro turf erected on Namibian soil,” echoed Davidson.
The charismatic president of the Namibian Hockey Union Schikerling says whilst the National Sports Policy encourages the private, commercial and mining sectors to promote and invest in sport and recognizes the need for adequate income tax incentives for those who take up the challenge to invest in sport – the reality is that incentive schemes currently provided for are virtually non-existent and hopelessly inadequate.
“Given this, it becomes demonstrably clear that companies such as Omina Supplies, who have taken up the challenge to invest in sport, not purely because they get something in return, instead their commitment towards the development of sport is mainly influenced by their sense of social responsibility and duty.”
The head of Administration and Finance at the National Sports Commission Walter Haseb commended Omina Supplies and said the commission welcomes and appreciates such innovation by the private sector.
“As much as we value the input and initiative undertaken by many of our sports disciplines to develop sports at grass-roots level, I would like to urge sports associations and federations to exercise transparency at all times because it is not always easy for associations to find and convince suitable financial backers to come on board.”
Meanwhile, the National Premier Men and Women Omina Supplies Hockey League gets under way this weekend with several matches scheduled for the Doc Jubber Hockey Fields in Olympia, south of Windhoek.
Saturday, 17/05/2008 – A Field
WOB vs Rehoboth 14h00
Unam vs Wanderers 15h30
Sunday, 18/05/2008 – A Field
Under-21 vs WOB 11h00
Omina Supplies National Women’s Hockey League (Reserves)
Saturday, 17/05/2008 – C Field
Polytechnic vs WOB 13h15
Wanderers vs DTS 14h30
Polytechnic vs Unam 15h45
Sunday, 18/05/2008 – C Field
Polytechnic vs Wanderers 09h00
WOB vs Unam 11h00
Omina Supplies National Men’s Hockey League (Reserves)
Saturday, 17/05/2008 – A Field
Poly vs WOB 12h00
Wanderers vs DTS 1 12h30
Poly vs DTS 2 15h30
Sunday, 18/05/2008 – B Field
WOB vs Unam 09h00
Poly vs Wanderers 11h00