Start your own netball, men told… Tjongarero tears into warring feds

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Start your own netball, men told… Tjongarero tears into warring feds
Start your own netball, men told… Tjongarero tears into warring feds

Africa-Press – Namibia. THE unprecedented involvement and influence of men in Namibia’s netball has drawn sport minister Agnes Tjongerero’s ire, urging them to start their own netball league instead.

“Many of these men are using women to get rid of the current netball leadership so that they can take ove, and I don’t want it. I don’t want a male president or male secretary general,” fumed the minister while addressing sports federations and umbrella bodies during a general meeting over the weekend.

The event was organised by the Namibia Sports Commission.

Tjongarero touched on an avalanche of topics, including in-fighting within various federations and the detrimental effects they have on sport development.

She then addressed the elephant in the room, the unsettling trend of men vying for positions within the women netball federations. This, she said, is uncalled for.

In no uncertain terms, Tjongarero told men that if they would like to or have any interest in leading netball, they should establish a men’s netball team and federation over which they can preside.

“Nobody is forced to be part of the sporting family. If you cannot work with the other person, just quit. We cannot punish athletes because of your indifference or because you don’t like this one, this type of behaviour is uncalled for,” she said.

“Netball cannot achieve Olympic status without a men’s division. It’s concerning to witness men, who may not excel in other sports like football or futsal, vie for leadership roles within women’s netball federations. They should establish their own league and compete there. Moreover, some individuals are manipulating women to undermine current leadership, aiming to take control,” the minister said.

Tjongarero continued: “I adamantly oppose the idea of men occupying key positions in women’s netball. Let’s establish a men’s league, and allow them to pursue their own agendas.”

Her frustration emanates from various reports suggesting that a crusade has gone into overdrive wherein two former regional netball chairpersons and another former official are seeking to secretly overthrow the current leadership under Rebekka Goagoses, and install a new one of their choosing.

The group submitted a request to the sports commission to organise an extraordinary meeting, where a vote of no confidence in Goagoses is apparently high on the agenda.

It is also further understood that the group wanted to use the annual general meeting recently held in Gobabis as another avenue of their coup d’état.

It was, however, declared unconstitutional, as member regions were not in good standing.

When approached for comment, former acting Netball Namibia (NN) secretary general Isack Hamata rallied behind Tjongarero.

“If we take over women’s sport, when will they get the opportunity to lead and contribute meaningfully to their federations? I believe as men, we should give our utmost support to women, and help them where we can in netball. I think by supporting them, we would assist in developing the sport to greater heights,” he said.

Furthermore, Goagoses also agreed with Tjongarero, stating that a directive was already given by the mother body to establish a men’s netball league.

“The regions have been directed to systematically explore the possibility of establishing men’s leagues. However, there are funding challenges with existing women’s regional leagues. An effort will have to be made by NN and the regional leaderships to secure funding for those leagues. On men wanting to take over netball leadership, I concur with the honourable minister’s sentiments but women should also avail and equip themselves to lead netball,” Goagoses stated.

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