14 Jan 2016 18:20pm
By Sem Shino
WINDHOEK, 14 JAN (NAMPA) The lack of proper administration and inadequate funding is hindering the development of basketball in the country, especially at grassroots level.
Basketball was once a fast growing sports codes in the country during the early 1990s, but its popularity among Namibians seems to have declined in recent years.
This saddening observation was made by many lovers of the sport, including Hendrik Mapele, the chief sports officer in the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Service.
He told Nampa recently that the running of basketball in the country is in the hands of the Namibia Basketball Federation (NBF), which is virtually dormant at the moment as its structures are not actively functional.
Mapele also said the absence of basketball development initiatives in the country is mainly due to inadequate funding and the lack of trained administrators and officials.
Most people who are involved in the development of basketball locally work on a voluntary basis, and many of the administrators do not even have qualifications to run the sport. Proper sports development requires a lot of money, and the government does not provide enough funding, he stated.
Federations and associations of various sports codes normally provide their proposed budgets to the government through the Namibia Sports Commission for the funding of their programmes.
These budgets are, however, often cut drastically with the result that many sports codes are unable to implement some of their proposed programmes.
Mapele said private businesses and other corporate institutions are often very selective and sponsor only certain sports codes, leaving some codes such as basketball to suffer due to a lack of funding.
Asked why there are so few qualified basketball administrators and officials in the country, he said it is the responsibility of the mother body (NBF) to approach the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to have more people trained in coaching and administration of the game.
Local basketball coach, Manuel Samuel Carballo became the first Namibian to obtain a FIBA coaching instructor certificate after attending a coaching clinic held in Porto-Novo, Benin in October 2015.
Khomas Basketball Association (KBA) President, Penda Hangala shared Mapele's sentiments.
He said the lack of recognised national or regional coordinators, the poor support from the national federation and the lack of sponsorships have all contributed to the decline in the development of the game over the years.
Hangala said the standard of basketball in the country is below par but there is a lot of potential if the right resources are channelled into the game.
The game has been more active in the Khomas Region; we revived it last year and administrative structures are now falling into place, he continued.
Hangala said there have been some positive developments in the game lately at grassroots level in regions such as Oshana, Erongo, Oshikoto, Kavango East and Zambezi, where people have been hosting social games.
Namibia does not have a national basketball team at the moment.
The NBF elected a new executive committee in December 2014, which started with the revival of basketball structures countrywide last year.
NBF Secretary-General, Ramah Mumba agreed that there is an urgent need to develop basketball at grassroots level through adequate funding.
He said the government has not been willing to fund the sport because the previous NBF leadership was disorganised and caused a decline in the sport.
Mumba further said he is concerned that the country does not have an international standard-size basketball court yet, and currently only boasts junior under-17 and under-20 national boys and girls teams.
Most facilities in the regions and township are either broken, underutilised or in a state of disrepair, and there is no money to fix them. This is also because the necessary structures are not active in those township and regions, he said.
Mumba said the NBF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the German Basketball Federation in July last year to assist in training and coaching administrators and coaches.
There is a future and great potential for basketball in the country, but it all depends on the commitment of the federations leadership and the support from our government, he added.