Govt’s decision on contact sports final

The health minister said many Namibians are unhappy with the Covid-19 restrictions, but added that they should not be taken personally.

01 June 2021 | Sports

Windhoek ∙ [email protected]

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has urged those in the sport fraternity to accept and respect the government’s decision to ban contact sport, adding that it is intended to save lives.

Shangula was responding to many Namibians who expressed displeasure about the decision to halt contact sport for the month of June due to raising Covid-19 cases.

The decision meant that the revival of football in Namibia, which began with the Namibia Football Association’s Namibia Premier Football League (NFPL) and the MTC NFA Cup as well as the Rugby Premier League and the netball league, have all suffered setbacks.

Government’s decision to allow non-contact sport to continue with 50 spectators in attendance has also come under scrutiny.

Shangula, however, maintained that the decision is to the benefit of every Namibian and should not be taken personally towards the sport fraternity.

“The measures in place are intended to prevent infections and deaths.

“Everyone is unhappy. Shebeen owners want to sell beer in the night, the transport sector wants to drive throughout the night beyond curfew.

“These are necessary pains we have to go through so that we can return the country to normalcy,” Shangula said.

Seeking solutions

Meanwhile, the NFA yesterday announced on their website that they are engaging relevant stakeholders to find a way to continue football action amid the new restrictions.

The football association’s secretary-general Franco Cosmos stressed the impact halting football could have on players and the sport in general.

“We have the transitional season underway and very advanced and we also have the MTC NFA Cup that has progressed and it will be a blow for the projects and the players if we have to stop now. Therefore, we are engaging government to see what possible solution we can have, mindful of the seriousness of Covid-19,” he said.

Deputy minister of sport Emma Kantema-Gaomas said the health of the nation comes first.

“The regulations are not meant to be permanent. They are a response to the current variant. We are aware of the concerns raised by the contact sports fraternity. As we speak, we are in direct consultation with the health ministry. Any new developments will be communicated by the ministry in line with the applicable statutory regulations.”

Namibia National Olympics Committee (NNOC) president Abner Xoagub, the official assigned to football by the NNOC, could not be reached for comment.

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