Living in the middle of nowhere and having limited options to pursue recreational activities to entertain oneself has compelled community members residing in the rural settlements of the Oshikoto Region to become football fanatics to while away time.
This has been the case for the resettled inhabitants at the Ondera project farm located some 80 kilometres outside Tsumeb on the Tsintsabis-Oshivelo road. Residents of the settlement are training hard ahead of the much-anticipated Tsintsabis tourney slated later this month.
The knockout tourney, proudly sponsored by Tsumeb-based company Dundee Precious Metals, has attracted many football followers with women also coming on board to join the male-dominated pastime.
Last weekend saw local teams locking horns in exhibition matches, sharpening their skills ahead of the much-trumpeted knockout tourney in an effort to polish up their finishing touches.
The well-attended games drew a large crowd from nearby settlements with almost 70% of residents of the tiny Ondera in attendance.
According to Jan Haneb, who has been spearheading the football spirit among inhabitants, the reason behind all the football hype is purely the lack of recreational activities that would keep the relatively small population of approximately one thousand people busy.
He added that the beautiful game of football is the only form of entertainment for the villagers to enjoy their social life while it also unites people.
“Our people here love football and there is nothing one can do if they don’t play football because football is no longer a hobby, it has become a religion for all of us.
“In view of this, we have committed ourselves to participate in competitions within close proximity or even beyond because we have noticed the potential benefits of participating in such events.”
Haneb said regular hosting of sports activities helped the youth to abstain from engaging in unnecessary activities such as drugs and alcohol abuse.
Amazingly, the commitment from the athletes can be attributed to there being no shebeens selling alcohol either on the farm or nearby settlements.