Located in the heart of Katutura, at the Katutura Youth Complex to be precise, Special Olympics Namibia (SON) was at one point the pride and hope of a community that was once economically and socially disadvantaged by the South African apartheid regime.
A few years ago when the Football for Hope Centre was inaugurated at the Katutura Youth Complex, where Special Olympics Namibia is also housed, many Namibians were hopeful that the facility would finally provide a unique opportunity to the boys and girls of Katutura to showcase their talents at a state-of-the-art facility.
The Football for Hope Centre is one of the 20 Football for Hope Centres built across Africa as part of the 2010 Fifa World Cup legacy program. Talents have been nurtured at those grounds, ferocious football games have been fought at that facility so much that the players and community have grown to identify with it. For the kids of Katutura, it was the only safe place they could call home away from home.
With such a rich history, naturally one would have expected the Football for Hope Centre to be further developed into something much bigger that will continue to address the plight of those vulnerable kids. Sadly, that is not the case! The centre is moribund, has become an eyesore and a laughing stock to some and is no longer the community centre of attraction it was envisaged to be. A recent report by NBC Sport brought to the fore how the Football for Hope Centre is falling apart and slowly becoming a national crisis.
At the same centre, the buildings of Special Olympics Namibia are in a shocking state and if left unattended, they will surely collapse and become the property of stray dogs. Special Olympics Namibia regulates and oversees the affairs of intellectually disabled athletes. Just a few years ago, the offices of Special Olympics Namibia were well equipped with the latest technology gadgets and well knowledgeable staff serving and uplifting the country’s intellectually disabled athletes, such as the likes of multiple medallist Ruben Gowaseb.
As it currently stands, the offices of Special Olympics Namibia are in a deplorable state exhibiting broken windows and broken doors, and on the verge of crumbling. The building’s electrical wiring and equipment have been stolen.
The artificial football turf adjacent to the offices is also in a sorry state and no longer under strict control, making it further vulnerable to the preying hooligans. It is an unfortunate turn of events, because this comes at a time when Namibian sportsmen have been crying for the erection of top-class facilities to help prepare themselves and develop young talents. The shortage of facilities in this country continues to leave athletes with no choice but to scramble for the few left sports facilities, in the process putting a huge strain on them. The Sam Nujoma and Independence stadiums are a case in point.
2020-06-26 08:52:17 | 16 days ago