Sports minister Erastus Uutoni yesterday called on newly-elected president of the Namibia Football Association (NFA), Ranga Haikali, to prioritise and continuously strive for inclusiveness when executing his duties at Football House in Katutura.
Haikali and chairperson of the Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC) for NFA, Hilda Basson-Namundjebo and her deputy Franco Cosmos, yesterday paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, where they met and exchanged notes with Uutoni. Welcoming the NFA trio to his office yesterday, Uutoni urged president-elect Haikali to prioritise, embrace and continuously strive for inclusiveness when dispatching his duties as head of the local football association, saying the NFA should serve as a window of opportunity for all Namibian talents.
Uutoni further pleaded with the NFA’s new head to steer clear of infightings and to try by all means to elude unnecessary disputes that will derail progress and the development of sports in the country.
“Football in Namibia is in serious need of assistance – it needs a vibrant individual to ensure that investors and sponsors are once again attracted to our games, in that we will be able to move football forward. Don’t isolate yourself, knock on our doors if you happen to face any difficulties – you cannot say you are independent and you are in the country that created the same football association that you are serving. And also, let’s stay away from the courts because those things are counterproductive,” said the minister.
He continued: “One can see that there is talent in rural areas but these talented youngsters are hardly exposed to opportunities like their counterparts in the central parts of the country. I think we should work hard to ensure everyone is given enough opportunities to showcase their talent. I know it’s not an easy task but with a strategic plan in place and through engaging sponsors it is possible. If need be, let’s even amend the Sports Act in order to accommodate all our youths.”
On infrastructure development, Uutoni called on towns and village councils to make budget provisions for the development of sports facilities for the youth in their respective areas, saying waiting on the sports ministry to carry out that mandate only will be short-changing Namibians.
“It would also be good for the mayors, governors or councilors in all parts of the country to push and try to make small budgetary allocations for sport infrastructure development. This should not just be left for inclusion in the country’s overall national budget, it’s not on because these people are given money from the government. So, I am saying, Mr Haikali, sit down with your colleagues and look at those things that are causing challenges in football and see how you guys can go about getting solutions to those challenges,” Uutoni advised.