Name: Rebekka /Goagoses
Date of Birth: 3 September 1974
Place of Birth: Walvis Bay
Occupation: Medical assessment officer
Former club: Black Africa Netball Club
You are currently the vice-president of Netball Namibia (NN); quickly take us through your role as vice president? What are some of your functions? I’m responsible for marketing, sponsorship, public relations and competitions. Some of my functions are to ensure effective marketing, presence and notice of netball at national level and on social media, print media, etc. Also, sourcing of sponsorship for our events and competitions, liaison between the media and various stakeholders, as well as overseeing and being responsible for our competitions.
The current leadership of NN is widely credited for having positively turned around the fortunes of local netball. Would you say local netball is now in a better space, compared to when you guys came in? Yes, one can comfortably say we are finding ourselves in a better space now, but we believe we can still do better and more. Worth noting is that challenges then and now are not the same – and it is not fair to compare the eras. For instance, the government back then had less priorities when our national team made it to the World Cup in 1991 – but now, it has 52 sports codes to take care off, therefore the importance of collaboration amongst the corporate world and sport federations.
Last year, NN penned a three-year sponsorship deal with MTC, worth N$4.2 million. How big of an achievement was that for the NN leadership? It was and is still big for us in the sense that, firstly, there is a national netball league being played across the country. Secondly, opportunities have now been created and the platform has been set and the tone is surely being felt. You might recall the opening games, where we had all 12 teams gathered in Windhoek – the atmosphere was great; one could feel and see the happiness of the players, officials and spectators and sympathisers all over. We, as the board, are equally happy and excited for this milestone.
The MTC sponsorship has also made it possible for the establishment of a fully-fledged 12-team netball premier league. How important is this premier league to the overall development agenda of NN?
It is important for us that players from different towns are given the opportunity to play on a highly competitive level – and this creates an opportunity to be also scouted by the national selectors and coaches. So, it is now for the players to bring their part as the platform has been laid for them. Let me also plead to the regional leaderships to continue having their regional leagues so it becomes easy for the play-offs and promotions at the end of the season to take place.
Speaking of the MTC sponsorship, how did it come about? Were there already ongoing talks between the two bodies (MTC & NN) prior to the announcement of the deal or was NN just handpicked as one of the beneficiaries? The courting to the MTC sponsorship for the premier league started way back in 2013. We relentlessly kept knocking on their doors and never lost hope in convincing MTC to include us in their sponsorship pack. Some of us were not even part of the NN leadership then when MTC was approached. It is being of cardinal importance for us to have a national league running because of its benefits to the players and the national team as well as the regional structures. So, no, we were not handpicked as per your question.
NN also enjoys a great relationship with Debmarine Namibia, especially the country’s senior team. Talk to us a bit about that relationship? The relationship with Debmarine is very sound and we are very much appreciative of their continued support towards the senior national netball team, who are known as the Debmarine Desert Jewels. Debmarine’s support has really put us on the world map. Their support has allowed us to dream and dream again to compete internationally for improvement, to maintain our rankings as a country – and for us to keep improving. Thank you, Debmarine Namibia!
As NN vice president, what would you say are some of the challenges local netball is currently facing? The challenges are a lot, especially at regional level, starting with the running of the substantive leagues to the remuneration of league winners, the players and officials. It will really boost the morale of the current and upcoming players if our netballers can be remunerated or even just get an allowance of some sort. Even an allowance or remuneration for the league winners in the respective regions would be great. Another issue is sponsorship; if we can get more companies on board to assist our regions, it would be great because regions will now be finding it easy to feed the national set up with top talents. A fully-fledged and internationally approved playing field is another challenge we face. Having such a facility will enable us as a country to host world-class events. Also, playing courts in the regions are very inadequate.
How would you describe the current state of Namibian netball? The current state of netball can and will improve for the better if we hold hands with all stakeholders involved. There are few regions that are really bringing their part – and for those who are behind, we can only take their hands and assist where they lack. As for the current status of netball in the country, we are being seen and recognised all over and we are highly appreciative of that.