Namibia Amateur Golf Union (NAGU) Vice President, Hafeni Nghinamwaani, says it is high time stakeholders including government come on board to finance golf development in Namibia. Golf in Namibia has over the years flagged the country in international competitions but Nghinamwaani says there is still talent that needs to be harvested provided that there are funds. There is only one Junior Development Foundation that is recognised by the Namibia Golf Federation (NGF). However, there are junior golf development academies in towns such as Swakopmund, Windhoek and Tsumeb. These are supported by the various local golf clubs and individuals.The elite sport is known to be expensive. Currently, government only contributes towards certain golf National Tour events mainly outside the country upon request of the union.
This is usually done through the Namibia Sports Commission. Nghinamwaani also added that the Royal & Ancient (R&A) of Scotland makes an annual contribution towards the junior golf development. Ultimately, golf is sponsored mainly by private companies and individuals such as MultiChoice Namibia, First National Bank, Bank Windhoek, Namibia Breweries Limited, Distell Namibia, Mariental Toyota, Sanlam, Audi (dealership) and many other private companies.“The need for government to fund golf in general and golf development in particular is obvious and cannot be over emphasized. Like any other sport code, golf needs to claim its equal share of the government sports budget. We need a clear non-discriminatory sports development policy in Namibia that places emphasis on development. That is where the future of sports lays, said Nghinamwaani who is also the golf national team captain.
The captain questioned various approaches adopted by the ministry saying they need to be inclusive of the sport code that is often seen as a ‘whites only’ sports. He adds that ore blacks have taken up golf as a sport of choice in the last 20 years. As evidence to that, for the last three years, the Namibia Golf Team has been 95 percent black. “Today there are 8 out of the top 10 top players on the Namibian Golf Order of merits (ranking). The top four amateur golfers in the country are black young players. The race argument is archaic now.”
Nghinamwaani says the union has mobilised schools in predominantly black and poor communities to enrol their pupils in the various junior golf development programs countrywide, which has yielded fruits so far. “All we need now is the government to meet us half way in this endeavour.”
I would like to urge Namibian private companies to come out and support golf as a way to contribute to national development and create platforms for marketing their products. I would also like to once again invite the government through the ministry of sports to relook at their approach to certain codes such as golf. We are prepared to sit down and present our developmental plans to them with a view to finding common ground as to how to redirect resources to this noble cause.”Lined up on the golf calendar is the Swakop Open that is scheduled for tomorrow and the Northern Championships in Tsumeb on 17-18 July.