The local hockey fraternity is in deep shock, mourning the death of Namibia Hockey Union (NHU) president Marc Nel, who died on Saturday. The union officially confirmed his passing on Saturday afternoon through its social media platforms.
The late Nel, who took over as NHU president in 2015 and remained in that position until his death on Saturday, has been widely hailed for his visionary leadership that saw the union embark on a multi-million project to lay its artificial turf at the Doc Jubber fields in Olympia – a first of its kind of the NHU.
The NHU’s executive committee, under Nel’s leadership, was also instrumental in bringing telecommunications giant MTC on board as the principal sponsors of the country’s men and women national teams as well as for the union’s development programmes.
MTC’s three-year sponsorship deal with NHU amounts to N$1 million per annum over three years.
Not just in recent years, but Nel has been part of the development of local hockey since Namibia’s independence, first serving as a member of the NHU executive committee from 1998 until 2000, before being elected as the union’s vice president in 2001.
He then went on to become NHU president for the first time in 2002 and served in that position until 2004.
Nel returned to the helm of Namibian hockey in 2015 after he was again elected president and remained until his death over the weekend.
He was also head coach of the country’s various national teams in the 2000s.
Head coach of the country’s senior women’s hockey team Erwin Handura described Nel’s passing as a huge loss to local hockey and the country’s sporting fraternity as a whole, as he was one of Namibia’s foremost sport administrators.
“Not only for hockey, but Namibia as a country has lost a prolific sport administrator. His vision for the NHU was remarkable and we all saw the projects that they were busy with, such as the artificial turf at the Doc Jubber fields and many others. He and his team were also instrumental in bringing MTC on board as a sponsor of our national teams, a sponsorship that has helped us a great deal. So, he will be missed by all and whenever a country losses someone of Nel’s calibre, it is not an easy thing,” said Handura, who was chosen as Coach of the Year at the Namibia Sport Awards in 2004 after having steered the country to a bronze medal at the Junior Africa Cup in 2004.
Nel was not only a towering figure in local hockey, but was also a renowned leader in the country’s pension fund industry. From 1986, Nel headed the United Pension Administrators of Namibia (Pty) Ltd (UPA) until 1999 when UPA was taken over by Alexander Forbes. Thereafter, he was appointed as director and later as senior director.
From 2003 until 2005, he was the managing director of Alexander Forbes Financial Services Namibia (AFFS Namibia) and was later appointed as executive director to the Board of Directors of Alexander Forbes Group Namib (Pty) Ltd.
He later founded Elite Consulting Namibia (Pty) Ltd, a wholly-owned Namibian company consulting company in the life assurance and pension industry, consulting for more than 35 pension and provident funds in Namibia.