THE director of sport in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Jo-Ann Manuel has deplored the ministry’s financial budget and called for more funds to execute their tasks.
Speaking at the send-off for the Namibian women’s hockey team to the Indoor Hockey World Cup, Manuel said that her ministry did not have nearly enough funds to support the more than 50 sporting codes in Namibia.
“The directorate of sport was allocated N$46 million for this financial year. Of that about 22 million go to salaries and benefits for my staff members. That means I’m left with N$24 million and of that I must give the Namibia Sport Commission N$10,2 million, so at the end of the day I only have about N$14 million for 53 sport codes in the country,” she said.
“In NDP5 we are advocating for sport to contribute about 2 percent towards the employment rate. Further in the second Harambee Prosperity Plan we are targeting sport professionalisation. For us to ensure that these documents and all of our dreams are executed, we need funds,” she added.
Manuel said she had two major tasks to push through in the coming financial year, namely to introduce a grant system to the federations and to advocate for market related budgets.
“Federations are managing the sport codes on behalf of the nation and government and the least we can do is to capacitate them financially. Secondly we must not just be given a budget by parliament, we need a market-related budget, a budget that speaks to our mandate and needs,” she said.
“Today we only have about four companies that are supporting the hockey team. But how many companies do we have in Namibia, there are many more, and they must not just come on board when a team qualifies for a world cup, but before, during a team’s development phase,” she added.
Monica Shapwa, speaking on behalf of Namdia said they attached great importance to the principle of corporate social responsibility.
“The Namdia Foundation was founded with the purpose to combat Namibia’s social and economic ills through the fields of fields of education, health and sport. As Namdia we are honoured and proud to be associated with the Namibian women’s indoor hockey team – their talent and commitment to excellence is inspirational and the fruit of their hard work is evident,” she said.
“Namibia is not only blessed with some of the best rough diamonds in the world, but has an abundance of talent, and if nurtured and polished properly will yield world-dominating results. We have no doubt that the women’s hockey team will emulate that,” she added.
Patty Karuaihe-Martin of NamibRe said corporate Namibia could play a bigger role to support sporting teams.
“As responsible corporate citizens the onus is on us to aid government through the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service to rebuild, and I believe that as corporates we can play a bigger role, to make sure that when people are participating and representing Namibia, that they don’t have any other worries than just to do their best.
“Not just for indoor hockey but all types of sport, starting from the grassroots levels of primary schools. Sport unites and ensures that we all come together, like all of us in this room. We are all coming from different regions and we are representing Namibia in different ways, but we are all here because we have one common goal and thats to represent Namibia and to do our very best,” she said.
Karen van der Merwe of Standard Bank Namibia said they would continue to invest in sport.
“It’s such an amazing thing to be able to say that our very own Namibian hockey team are representing us at the World Cup as the African champions – isn’t that awesome. It’s not often that Namibians carry such a high ranking, so we are extremely proud of what you have achieved,” she said.
“We have proudly invested in various sport codes over the years and we will continue to do so because sport has an enormous impact on the lives of especially our youth, providing purpose to both individuals and teams and encouraging them to reach their dreams – and our dreams with you,” she added.
“So for us investing in this hockey team represents opportunity – opportunity to allow the ladies to use their talents as a channel to touch lives, open doors and inspire those who look up to them to carry the baton of Namibian sport into the future,” she said.