23 Jul 2016 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 23 JUL (NAMPA) More than 150 learners from schools in the Kavango regions were left stranded in Windhoek on Thursday when they showed up too early for the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU) Winter Games.
The games started at the Katutura Multi-Purpose Youth Centre on Friday at 13h00, but the NSSU has asked teams to only arrive on Friday due to a lack of accommodation.
Teachers of the two teams however said it would have been impractical for them to drive to Windhoek on Friday as it would have meant they would have had to leave Kavango East and West at around 03h00 Friday morning.
Simbaranda Anton, a teacher from Nakazaza Combined School in Kavango East, who accompanied the learners, told Nampa on Friday the learners performance would have been negatively affected as they would have arrived at 13h00 on Friday and the games started at 14h00.
I do not think any of our athletes would have stood a chance to qualify and that would be very unfair towards them, said Anton.
The coach of the Under-17 girls team from Rundu Senior Secondary School, Diyeve Edward said they were forced to drive to Windhoek earlier to get here on time and give learners a chance to rest before the games. They arrived here at around midnight on Thursday.
If we travelled on Friday we would not have made it on time. Do they know how far Kavango is? In fact we should have been here a day before the competition, said Edward.
The learners and teachers ended up sleeping in the buses Thursday night and the teachers paid for their food on Friday.
Shimuteka Ruth, a volleyball player from Romanus Kampungu Secondary School in Rundu described the situation as unbearable.
Some of the learners have backaches now. Just imagine sleeping on a seat in a bus, she said.
Contacted for comment, NSSU national coordinator Solly Duiker said the teams should have arrived in Windhoek on Friday to only arrive here when the hostels start running empty as learners leave for the weekend.
We asked them to travel on Friday because the NSSU and the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service do not have accommodation facilities. The schools close at 13h00 and that is why we wanted them to arrive at that time, said Duiker.
Edward conceded that the NSSU asked them to travel Friday morning at 03h00, but said this would have been risky and inappropriate as it is unsafe to drive that time of the night.
The learners are in Windhoek to take part in the NSSU 2016 Winter Games in the hopes of qualifying for the Council of School Sports Associations of Southern Africa (Cossasa) ball games to be held in Botswana from 21 to 28 August. The games end on Sunday.
Kavango West sent a team of 35 learners and officials whilst the Kavango East team was made up of more than 85 learners, officials and teachers in an overloaded 65-seater bus.
The athletes are competing in various disciplines such as volleyball, football and basketball.