Chief administrator of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Freddy Mwiya yesterday burbled and waffled as he tried hard to explain how the blunders that marred the 2020 MTC Namibia Youth Games came about and how the NSC’s capacity was outweighed by the magnitude of the event.
During a press briefing at MTC’s headquarters in the capital yesterday, Mwiya and MTC’s Tim Ekandjo provided the media with a brief review of last year’s MTC Namibia Youth Games, which were blemished by incidents of lack of accommodation for participating athletes, lack of decent meals for athletes and officials, as well as poor hygiene, as athletes were forced to use filthy toilets and bathrooms.
The 2020 MTC Namibia Youth Games, which marked the second edition of the national multi-sport youth competition, were held in Rietfontein and Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa region last December.
As questions poured in from the media as to what actually led to the countless blunders at last year’s games, an overwhelmed Mwiya trembled between the lines as he explained that the NSC’s human capital capacity to organise a national competition carrying a capacity of more than 2 000 athletes and officials proved insufficient and that a budget shortfall of about N$900 000 also compounded matters in Rietfontein and Grootfontein.
Without providing the media with much substance as to what actually led to the shortfall of basics such as food and accommodation for the hundreds of participating athletes, Mwiya, however, bravely moved to apologise to the general public, the athletes, their parents and to sponsor MTC for putting up games that were disastrous and totally chaotic.
“We acknowledge that indeed some challenges rendered it difficult for us to create a spectacular sporting event, which made us short of meeting our expected standards and measure up to the reputation of the event. We had serious issues with capacity to properly organise the games and we all also know about the accommodation and food problems that were also experienced by our athletes; these are all things that are very unfortunate and regrettable. But together with our partners, we remain committed to growing the MTC Namibia Youth Games brand and wish to recommit to the nation that we have learnt from the challenges faced and will address them head-on going forward,” said an apologetic Mwiya.
He further said: “Importantly, we have indeed listened to the public outcry – and together, we will work hard to exceed our clientele expectations. Most importantly, we wish to assure you that we are 100% committed to ensuring that we put together a memorable event as we look forward to the 2021 edition of the games”.
On his part, Ekandjo admitted that MTC, as a sponsor, was not impressed with the bad publicity that emanated from last year’s games and how it negatively rubbed off on MTC’s brand, saying they had a firm sit down with the NSC to look at the challenges and see how things can be improved going forward. Going forward, Ekandjo said, MTC will take charge of all core matters that pertain to the organisation of the games and that the NSC will only be left to play the role of a regulator and other technical supporting roles.
“We are mindful that we are dealing with very young athletes and whose parents trust the organisers with their kids; it is, therefore, heartbreaking to hear from your kids that they were struggling to eat or that they were treated poorly. We will ensure this will not happen again. Our philosophy is not to interfere in the affairs of our sponsorship beneficiaries – but if these events generate bad publicity, we will insist on getting actively involved and we want to thank the NSC’s leadership for allowing MTC to take charge of certain aspects of the event that pertains to accommodation and meals for all stakeholders participating in this event.
“We sincerely apologise to all the athletes, officials and parents for the shortcomings at the 2020 MTC National Youth Games; we will ensure that this will not happen again as we welcome you back to the 2021 MTC National Youth Games, which will be held in Windhoek. We have already started with the preparations of the 2021 games to ensure that we deliver on a world-class event,” said Ekandjo.