The Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) has postponed the 2023 National Youth Games (NYG), which were scheduled to take place in Windhoek in early December, due to a lack of financial resources.
In a letter sent to all regional sports chairpersons, regional sports officers and national sports bodies by the NSC chief administrator Freddy Simataa Mwiya, the games could not take place because of ‘budgetary challenges’, the letter said.
Mwiya said the NSC had successfully hosted the NYG in 2018 and 2020, but the end of the contract between the former main sponsor, MTC and the NSC had made it difficult to fund the games.
“As we are all aware, this is a government project through our line Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service. After comprehensive consultations and upon receiving communication from the line ministry in November 2023, the 2023 NYG will not take place as scheduled due to budgetary challenges faced now,” the letter said.
The letter advised the regions to maintain the teams as they are in case funds become available for the games.
The NYG is used to select a team that will represent Namibia at the 2024 African Union Sports Commission (AUSC) Region 5 Games.
The NSC had budgeted just over N$4 million for the games, with the money earmarked for logistics, such as transport, food, accommodation, technical officials’ payments and venues.
Previously, MTC would contribute N$1.8 million, while the ministry would cover the rest.
However, this year, the ministry has only offered its part, with instructions that it should be for transport.
According to the NSC, the time given to source additional funds is insufficient, considering that consultations have been ongoing since June.
The executive director of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Erastus Haitengela, confirmed to New Era Sport that they had made a commitment of N$1.5 million for the games.
“Unfortunately, we do not have the extra money requested by the NSC. The games had sponsors previously who did not renew their sponsorship for the games. We wrote them two letters on 10 and 24 November, explaining our position,” Haitengela said.
On his part, Mwiya said preparations for the games have been ongoing since June this year, but a lack of funds has forced them to cancel them.
“The minister had instructed the principals at the ministry to make funds available. We are now N$2.6 million short – and with schools closing today, it may be too late to host them in two weeks. That is why we have told our regional members that we have postponed the games,” Mwiya said from Botswana, where he is attending meetings for the bilateral agreement between the two countries.