WINDHOEK – In his 14-page Budget Motivation speech in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni said the N$286 million allocated to his ministry for the 2019/20 fiscal year will not be sufficient to amply prepare the country’s various national teams for participation at important international events.
Motivating the ministry’s 2019/20 budget, Uutoni pointed out to fellow parliamentarians that Namibia is faced with participation at two major international competitions this year, namely the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt and the Rugby World Cup in Japan and looking at the ministry’s allocation, the likelihood of adequately preparing the national football and rugby senior teams appears bleak.
The Brave Warriors have been drawn in Group-D of the 2019 Afcon alongside regional rivals South Africa and continental giants Ivory Coast and Morocco, while the senior rugby side the Welwitschias are in Pool B of the 2019 Rugby World Cup alongside New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Canada.
Beholding the importance of the two aforementioned competitions, the line minister told the august house: “It is clear that from the allocation to the ministry it will not be sufficient to cater for the participation of the Brave Warriors who are set to participate in the 2019 Afcon as well as for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.”
Also, in another separate interview with Nampa, Uutoni revealed that, in addition to Afcon and the Rugby World Cup, Namibia is set to participate in various other events such as the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games. In an interview with Nampa, Uutoni said preparation for the competitions is as important as the events themselves and players and coaches need logistical support, accommodation, food and many other things to perform well.
“Even if I want to say I need more money there is nothing I can do because the problem is the slowdown of the economy. It is imperative for Namibia to participate in these activities. Failure to partake will result in penalties that are normally higher than the participation costs,” he said.
For the past three financial years, the sports ministry’s budget continues to dwindle as the ministry got N$288 million for the 2018/19 fiscal year, which was a massive N$97 million reduction from the N$385 million the ministry was allocated in the 2017/18 fiscal period.
– Additional info: Nampa