The once-revered Gobabis’ Legare sports stadium is in tatters and is falling apart, with the stadium’s floodlights broken and hanging on loose electrical wire ends, while the grass that was once squeaky green, is now on the verge of resembling an elephant battling ground.
The Legare stadium is one of Gobabis’ mainstay sport facilities and has over the years been a crucial player in helping the eastern town host numerous major national events such as the various editions of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Cup, the Newspaper Cup, rural sports federation activities and schools sporting events, as well as political and entertainment events.
Not only has the stadium been beneficial to the sports community, but revenue emanating from renting out the stadium for the various festivities comes in handy for coffers of the town’s municipality, as the revenue generated from the stadium also assists in other areas of social and economic development.
In its current state, the stadium is dilapidated, with the grass largely dried up and massive potholes can be seen in some parts of the pitch and some water meters are also broken, thus leading nonstop leakages in some parts of the facility.
Community activists at the town have in recent weeks been up in arms protesting against the municipality’s leadership, with many of the activists saying the stadium is the latest display of how the town’s leadership is failing the community and the town’s youth.
Speaking to New Era Sport yesterday, Gobabis municipality CEO Ignatius Thudinyane admitted the stadium is in a bad state but was quick to assure the town’s municipality has been hard at work to rectify all shortcomings – and in a few months, he assured, all will be back to normal at the stadium.
Thudinyane said an assortment of internal and external factors led to the stadium’s deterioration, saying from the start of this year until around June, the town was experiencing serious water supply problems to the stadium from the main point of supply on the outskirts of the town. As a result, the regular watering of the grass was naturally discontinued, while the municipality’s experts and private collaborators were hard at work to rectify the stadium’s water supply problem.
As for the diminished stadium floodlights, Thudinyane admitted that some floodlights had fallen off from their towering stands and had been lying on the ground for some months now. He, however, explained that putting the floodlights back onto their stands proved a huge challenge for the municipality, as it does not have a Crane with the height and capacity to restore the floodlights to their original positions, as the poles are extremely high.
“When we noticed that we had no Crane of such capacity here in Gobabis, we had to look elsewhere and a private company from Windhoek agreed to do that job – but then, unfortunately, the entire country went into lockdown due to Covid-19 and workers of the private company could not leave Windhoek for Gobabis. The company was going to charge the municipality N$35 000, as the Crane that was required had to be a very serious height and quite sophisticated. But with everything now slowly returning to normal, we will continue with initial plans as far as the floodlights are concerned,” explained Thudinyane.
On allegations that the town’s municipality has plans building a permanent truck port on the piece of land where the stadium is situated, Thudinyane laughed off such assertions, saying there were never such plans and that the stadium will not be demolished to make way for a planned truck port.
“This is what happened… during the Covid-19 situation, when the whole country went on lockdown and various operations had to be readjusted, we took a decision to create a temporary truck port in the vicinity of the Legare Stadium in order to accommodate inbound truck drivers and to also ensure that those truck drivers coming from outside don’t mix with the community. The temporary truck port is not built inside the stadium area, but just at an open piece of land next to the stadium. And mind you, we built that temporary truck port as per President Hage Geingob’s health directive at the time, which said that incoming truckers should not be allowed to mix to the vulnerable community. We cannot demolish the town’s only stadium to make way for a truck port; it does not make sense,” added Thudinyane.