Government denies neglecting Eagles 

Michael van Lingen in action for Namibia against Australia. Photo: ICC

Cricket Namibia vice president Pollycarpus Negongo has called out the government for its failure to render financial support to the senior men’s national cricket team for a third consecutive world cup campaign.

The Richelieu Eagles are one of three African representatives at the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup competition co-hosted by the United States (US) and West Indies.

Negongo says they are left to fend for themselves as the government has again not given them a “single cent” for the global showpiece.

He took to social media platform Facebook earlier this week “to get a message across”.

Negongo questions why the cricket team was not being supported like the Brave Warriors and Welwitschias who got a combined N$38 million from the government to partake in the Africa Cup of Nations and the Rugby World Cup.

Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Services executive director Erastus Haitengela refuted Negongo’s assertion in an interview with Desert Radio on Wednesday.

“The Eagles have now qualified for their third T20 World Cup in a row and basically what we’ve received from the government is a ‘well done on the qualification and good luck’. We have not received a cent in support from the government, unlike football and rugby, for all three world cups we’ve qualified for,” Negongo wrote on his Facebook page.

“Mind you, the Brave Warriors have qualified for continental tournaments like Chan [African Nations Championship] and the African Cup of Nations, which are great achievements, but we have qualified for world cups and have totally been ignored by the government,” he continued.

Contacted to verify the social media post on Wednesday, a fired-up Negongo told The Namibian Sport that he stands by what he said.

He said the government is not contributing to the construction of Cricket Namibia’s state-of-the-art facility, which will co-host the 50-Over Cricket World Cup in 2027.

“I’m going to stand my ground. I’ve drawn the line, I’m tired. They can do what they want,” he said.

“The very same organisation being ignored has been winning games at these world cups; been winning ICC awards and also awards locally, including the best administered sports organisation for five years in a row,” Negongo said.

“The organisation which will be making history by being the first sporting code in Namibia to build their own international stadium is being ignored. Till when? Cricket Namibia’s achievements over the past six years or more cannot be matched by any other sports code in Namibia, yet we are ignored,” he said.

“When are people in the sport ministry going to wake up, when are they going to come to the party?”

Cricket Namibia chief executive Johan Muller confirmed that they have received no funds for the world cup expedition, even after meeting with Haitengela regarding the matter.

“We have not been fortunate enough up until this point to get financial support. We had a meeting two weeks ago with executive director Erastus Haitengela of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service. He did confirm that there are some funds allocated to us,” Muller told Desert Radio.

SOCIAL MEDIA GOSSIP

Muller says they were requested to submit invoices of their expenses in the West Indies and US post-tournament.

“Soccer and rugby get their money before they get on the plane to go to the world cups and African Cup of Nations. What invoices do they submit?,” Negongo inquired.

“From the first world cup that we went to in the UAE [United Arab Emirates], months before that, we gave in our budget. Second world cup the following year, we went to Australia, same thing. Nothing,” he continued.

“Same thing with this world cup. We handed in those things long ago. Why must we hand in invoices afterwards? And why are we only getting 3,5 million, while other people are getting 16 million and 22 million?” he said.

Haitengela has rubbished Negongo’s statements as “unfounded gossiping and misinformation taking place on social media platforms”, and he expects Muller to provide the ministry with the invoices as requested.

“As you know we have a responsible government and a responsible ministry. We have a great relationship with most of our sport federations and associations. Cricket Namibia is one of them and I don’t even know where that misinformation on government not funding Cricket Namibia comes from,” Haitengela says.

“In fact, two weeks ago, Muller came to my office where we talked and I said to him we have made a provision of N$3,6 million for Cricket Namibia. Remember that I said in the past that the government is responsible to those who are organised and well prepared. Cricket Namibia is one of them, they came to us and gave their budget,” Haitengela says.

“The street talks are false, and the vice president of Cricket Namibia is also part of the very uninformed. He should have gone to his chief executive officer to get the correct information. It is not even the first time that we are helping Cricket Namibia, we helped them in other areas where they needed help,” says the senior government official.

Muller says the N$3,6 million will not go towards the players’ salaries as they are fully contracted and get their monthly payment.

“We will utilise the funds for the tournaments that are coming up later in this year. It will go towards the operation expenses for things like human resources consultants, warm-up matches and additional costs incurred while at the world cup, and also the things that are not covered by our national budget amount,” Muller says.

He says financial assistance from the government will be appreciated, as Namibia is expected to co-host the 2026 ICC U19 Men World Cup with Zimbabwe and co-host the 2027 senior men’s world cup alongside South Africa.

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