Omuthiya – Although many across the country welcomed the modern sports field, fitted with an artificial turf, recently unveiled in Omuthiya, some have questioned the rationale behind service fees charged by the council to users.
Per day, the council is charging a usage fee of N$300 for a friendly match and N$1,000 for tournaments, hence some concerns that users are unable to afford to pay the fees.
However, the fees issue doesn’t seem to have had an effect as almost every weekend football games are organised by different teams or organisations from outside the town and other regions.
“The council’s mandate is to maintain and develop the sports field, hence the issue of charging fees comes in. As you can see, the sports field is still half complete and some basic services are needed to be constructed and made available; and it is only through this form of revenue collection incorporated with council’s funding that we can deliver the much-needed services,” the council’s local economic development officer, David Israel, explained.
Israel added that the council’s aim is not to have the field become a white elephant. He further asserted that the council still needs to build a pavilion with dressing rooms, a kiosk for SMEs to sell refreshments as well as ablution facilities. “So all this depends on money.” “On the other hand we have an option for clubs. They can register and become members and then pay a one-off of N$2,000 per annum for utilising the field. Every week we receive requests from people who want to use the field and this is what the facility is meant to be utilised for,” he said.
Construction of the field costs about N$8 million, while fencing of the area at N$3.6 million is under way.
“There is 55 percent progress in fencing the whole area, and we are happy with the contractor’s work so far as he is moving according to our expectations,” stressed Israel when highlighting the progress.
He further used the opportunity to clear the air as to why they had to fence off the area with diamond mesh instead of putting up a boundary wall as per FIFA requirement:
“We informed FIFA that a boundary wall will be too expensive for the council now and it couldn’t afford it, hence the reason we opted to provisionally cordon it off with a fence while we are still sourcing funds. This was also in the meantime to secure the field from vandalism,” Israel explained.
The whole stadium will cost approximately N$65 million, and with a carrying capacity of 40,000 make it among the biggest stadiums in the country.