WINDHOEK – The Namibian sports fraternity has been dealt a huge blow and is still reeling in shock following the death of Piet du Plooy, who died of a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 49.
Du Plooy was on Thursday admitted to hospital following the heart attack but however appeared to have recovered well the following day (Friday), but was pronounced dead on Saturday.
The charismatic Du Plooy, who captained the Namibian senior rugby team in five official tests between 1992 and 1994, prematurely parted ways with the oval ball game in the early 90’s after he was diagnosed with cancer at the prime of his career but went on to win the battle against the disease through bone-marrow transplants.
After successfully completing his cancer treatment, Du Plooy quickly knuckled down to serious business when he was appointed the first director of the now defunct Namibia Sports Council (NSC), which he headed until 2003 when the new sports act was implemented.
With the new sports act, the Namibia Sports Council was then rechristened the Namibia Sports Commission, in which Du Plooy served as one of the commissioners and immensely contributed to the drafting and development of various sports policies.
Until his death, Du Plooy chaired the panel of judges of the Namibian Sports Commission Awards and was also the managing director of Trip Travel, one of the country’s leading travel agencies that was very involved in the travelling arrangements of various national teams.
Director of Sports in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Dr Vetumbuavi Veii, couldn’t contain his grief when contacted yesterday, saying Namibia has lost a sports giant and someone who dedicated his life and time to serve the interest of others.
“Right after the country’s independence and with the apartheid issue still a bit rife, Piet was one of those very few white Namibians who offered to work with the new government for the betterment of fellow Namibians. I worked hand in hand with him, the late Quinton Steele-Botes and Calle Schafer who is still alive. They were very instrumental in drafting various sports policies, it’s really a big loss for Namibia as a country,” said Veii.
Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) President Bradley Basson, who was equally shocked by the news of Du Plooy’s death said: “Piet always had the best interests of Namibian rugby at heart and we will remember him as an outstanding individual who made a huge contribution to Namibian rugby on and off the field.”
Various sports administrators were all in unanimity that Namibia has not only lost a sports icon but one of the pioneers of Namibian sports and a truly dedicated son of the soil.
Basson confirmed Piet is survived by his wife IIsje and son AJ.