The late president Hage Geingob had a symbiotic bond with sport in the country, and his presence will be greatly missed, grieving sport figures said yesterday.
There was an outpouring of emotion from the sporting fraternity yesterday, following the announcement that Namibia’s third president died.
Cricket Namibia (CN) hailed Geingob’s dedication to uniting the nation using the power of sport.
“Cricket Namibia joins the nation in mourning the profound loss of not just a leader, but a true advocate of the transformative power of sport,” it said in a statement.
“Dr Hage Geingob’s unwavering commitment to the belief that sport can unite and inspire was evident in his dedicated support to Cricket Namibia and the entire sport community of our nation.
“We remember and honour his legacy as a leader who understood the profound impact of sport on the well-being and unity of our people,” CN said.
The late president was arguably the most high-profile cheerleader for Namibian sport, and a number sport personalities attributed their success to Geingob who offered them counsel, and emotional and material support.
“His departure leaves a void not only in the nation’s heart, but also in the heart of our sporting community,” Netball Namibia president Rebekka Goagoses said yesterday.
“President Geingob was a true champion of sport. His passion for sport was infectious. His genuine enthusiasm and support inspired countless athletes and administrators alike. His accomplishments are numerous,” she said.
“However, we will perhaps remember him most for his warmth, his humility, and his unwavering commitment to serving his people.”
Boxing promoter Nestor Tobias has fond memories of Geingob whom he regarded as a father figure and “a man of the people”.
“It’s a great loss for the nation and for the sporting community.
“Dr Geingob was a good man and his hand was always open, especially for me when I was boxing he supported me very much.
“Even when I retired and opened the MTC Sunshine Boxing and Fitness Academy, he supported me and gave me direction when it came to leadership and so forth,” Tobias said.
“My boxers, when they fight for titles, especially abroad, he would call them to State House and give them encouragement and something to support themselves with.
“We have lost a great man. God bless Namibia and the Geingob family. Thank you for what you gave us. For sure his legacy will continue,” he said.
Freddy Mwiya, the Namibia Sports Commission’s head of administration, said: “It is a very sad time for us from the sporting fraternity for the loss of our president.
“We offer our condolences to the family and the entire country. We will remember our head of state as the man who loved all sport codes in the country and he served as a patron to some of them.”
A former rugged defender during his youth, football was unsurprisingly closest to his heart.
Geingob was the patron of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and championed the annual Dr Hage Geingob Cup competition to aid development efforts.
A self-confessed diehard fan of English giants Liverpool, Geingob was a regular at sport events at home and abroad.
The NFA called off all matches scheduled for yesterday in honour of Geingob.
“ . . . because of this grief and sorrow the Namibia Football Association decided to cancel all league matches with immediate effect until further notice.
“Like all Namibians across the country, the NFA is deeply saddened by this unfortunate situation that befell Namibians,” the NFA said in a statement.
Cricket Namibia concluded its statement, saying: “In this time of grief, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family of president Hage Geingob an the entire Namibian nation.
“May his leadership and passion for Namibia continue to guide and inspire us all.”
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