NSSU under fire for another shambolic trip

NSSU coordinator Roger Kambatuku claims this pic of him eating a banana was not during the recent controversial trip.

A group of concerned parents has written to the Namibia Schools Sport Union (NSSU) airing their frustration over the conditions a national under-17 netball team endured on a recent trip to South Africa.

According to the letter, the problems already started before the tour when the team had to camp at the Jan Mohr Secondary School hostel, in Windhoek where some parents complained that the facilities, and especially the ablution area, was unhygienic and not up to standard.

They requested that their children sleep at home and be dropped off and picked up at the training venue, but the request was denied due to team building.

“We, as parents, have no problem with the team residing together as we also believe that it is important to ensure cohesion and team spirit. The request was purely based on the fact that the facilities provided were deemed by some parents to not be on an acceptable level in terms of hygiene, especially regarding the ablution area. Alternative accommodation was offered and made available by Windhoek Gymnasium, which was turned down. We are well aware as to the reason why this offer was rejected. The rejection of the offer is, however, a classic case of ‘cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face’,” the letter states, adding that one parent scrubbed the toilet with disinfectant herself and also provided a toilet brush and toilet paper because there were none.

The letter claims that some parents provided their children with snacks and cooldrinks, but that some of the officials helped themselves to the items without permission.

According to the statement, the children hardly got any food on their 28-hour trip, while it claimed that the players had to share one pizza per bus, which basically came down to one pizza slice per player.

An offer by a parent to buy the children food on their arrival if it was reimbursed, was declined by management, and it was only after the intervention of Colette Rieckert, the chief executive officer of Windhoek Gymnasium, that the children received dinner consisting of burgers and chips upon their arrival.

 A parent volunteered to clean ‘unhygienic’ ablution facilities were the team camped. Photo: contributed

The statement asked why a sponsorship of N$10 000 from Momentum Namibia was not used to cover the food expenses.

The letter also raised issues of racism and the children’s right to freedom of association, after the intervention of management forced some children to change buses on the trip.

“Upon departure from the hostel, the team manager made a comment to the players travelling on one of the buses, saying that ‘this is clearly a picture of racism’. This comment was made due to the fact that the only three white players were travelling in one bus with three non-white players, while the other bus consisted of only black players. Take note that the white players were seated next to the non-white players. During their next stop at a service station, some players were forced to move over to the other bus,” the statement read.

“Upon being informed hereof, some parents had heated exchanges with the team manager and demanded that the kids be allowed to exercise their right to sit where and with whom they wish. It went as far as some of the parents directing the bus to stop in order for their children to be collected and removed due to the treatment they were receiving,” the statement added.

According to the statement, the trip was late and poorly planned, the driving was at excessive speeds of between 140 and 160 kilometres per hour, which only decreased after a parent complained, and the necessary documentation was not in order, as one child was turned back due to incomplete documents.

“This resulted in one of the buses having to remain at the border post, with only the driver having to look after players while an attempt was made to sort out paperwork at a police station, which proved futile. The shocking part is that the officials abandoned the player at the police station in the middle of the night to fend for herself. The officials collected N$340 from a few fellow players which was given to the player as taxi money to find her own way home. How can this in any way be condoned,” the statement reads.

There were several other issues raised such as the improper dress code of the officials, with some walking around barefoot, the coach who was “sitting on her chair for the entire game and not bothering to get up to talk to the players during breaks”, while “the officials also showed a lack of respect towards the other teams by not arriving on time for the official dinner”.

Alleged racial tensions during the trip are unfounded. Photos: Contributed

The statement concludes by asking for a breakdown of the N$10 000 sponsorship, as well as S&T perks, and from which funds these costs were paid, as well as requesting the qualifying criteria regarding the appointment of team managers.


The interim national coordinator of the NSSU, Roger Kambatuku, yesterday expressed disappointment that the concerned parents had gone to the media and not raised the issues with him.

“I only received the letter yesterday, so I haven’t had time to look at it, but I’ve appointed a committee to investigate the allegations. I even told one of the parents, let’s talk about this before it goes to the media.

“We have a committee responsible for netball, my office just coordinates, and I didn’t go on the trip, so we will investigate the matter and respond soon. I instructed the committee to get to the bottom of this and asked the team manager to submit a report,” he said.

“But why can’t the concerned parents identify themselves, why do they have to remain anonymous? They can come to my office anytime to talk about it so that we can try and improve the situation,” he added.

Kambatuku said although a formal investigation still had to be made, he believed that some of the complaints were not sincere.

“For instance, the Jan Mohr hostel. We had athletes staying there during the recent NSSU athletics championships and there were no problems and no one complained. I went to inspect before the team stayed there and the team manager also said the hostel was proper and we had no complaints from the athletes,” he said.

“The team is in camp, so why must they sleep at home? They are competing together as a team, so they need to build a team spirit,” he said, adding that he needed to get to the bottom of the the food report, as he was not on the tour.

Regarding the incident of a child being sent back at the border, Kambatuku denied that she was left to fend for herself.

“The child was taken care of, she was given a safe place to stay at the border. We then organised public transport from Gobabis to fetch her and she returned to Windhoek the next day. I met her when she arrived back and took her back to her parents,” he said.

“I don’t want to respond to the racism claims since I was not there,” he added.

Regarding the Momentum sponsorship, Kambatuku said he had secured it.

“I secured that sponsorship myself just a few hours before the team left, but there’s a process to follow. It takes time and it’s not even in our account yet,” he said.

Regarding allegations against the coach and officials, he said they were quite subjective.

“I think they came from a parent who was unhappy that her child did not get enough playing time. And what nonsense is this about the coach sitting down – does that mean that the team cannot perform if she is not standing,” he asked.

The concerned parents’ letter was accompanied by photos of officials eating snacks, which included one of Kambatuku himself eating a banana, but he said the photo was not applicable.

“This is very unfortunate, why would I do that? That photo was taken at our office on the day we were having a press conference to send the team off, and obviously as is the norm with all press conferences, we had refreshments,” he said.

“This is very low from whoever is complaining and it’s now being turned into a smear campaign against me. I wasn’t even on the trip, so why am I being linked to this,” he asked.

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