Marine diamond mining company, Debmarine Namibia, has expressed satisfaction with the impact that its multi-million dollar sponsorships have had in football and netball.
In 2016, Debmarine Namibia signed an agreement with the Namibia Football Association (NFA) worth N$14.1 million over three years to sponsor the NFA cup, which was renamed the Debmarine Cup.
Last year, the diamond miner also signed a three-year deal with Netball Namibia worth N$1.8 million.
The funds are to be used for the Annual Senior National Netball Championships, Annual Netball Pent Series - played by Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia Zimbabwe and another invited guest nation.
The money also goes towards the regional league grants of N$10,000 per region, training of umpires and the development of the first Netball Namibia website.
Both sponsorship deals will come to an end next year, and so far Debmarine Namibia said it is happy with its investment in the two sport codes despite some hiccups along the way, especially the poor attendance by supporters.
Debmarine Namibia senior communications officer, Anna Ingwafa, told the Windhoek Observer in an interview that the company has enjoyed good working relations with the two sport codes over the past two years, but could not say whether the diamond miner would extend its sponsorships beyond the current agreements.
“The Debmarine Namibia Cup is the richest cup competition in the history of domestic football and is a significant investment in sports, youth and national pride.
“The Debmarine Namibia Cup has completed its second year and we are glad it has picked up great momentum especially towards the latter stages of the competition. Together, we aim to enjoy a successful and monumental three years of exciting football,” Ingwafa said.
She added that Debmarine Namibia's agreement with the NFA is an illustration of the social responsibility efforts the company is making in response to the challenges facing the Namibian youth.
“It also solidifies our commitment to sporting disciplines which often do not get the attention they deserve as we duly recognise the efforts made by dedicated administrators who often have what can best be described as a meager budget to make dreams a reality for Namibian women.”
Ingwafa said Debmarine Namibia’s sponsorship agreement with Netball Namibia is further aimed at developing the sport at a grassroots level, adding that the company is proud of the improvement made by the national netball team.
The Namibian team won this year’s Pent Series tournament and subsequently moved up five places on the world rankings to number 28 on the International Netball Federation’s (INF) latest ranking.
Ingwafa, however, expressed disappointment with the poor attendance at football stadiums and netball courts.
“Attendances at football matches have been a challenge for years for both the Namibia Premier league (NPL) and the NFA, but we believe that the NPL clubs have a big role to play to attract their supporters to the stadiums during both league and Debmarine Namibia Cup games.
“The 2017 and 2018 Debmarine Namibia Cup finals were well attended and we would like to thank the successful efforts of the finalists; Mighty Gunners and Young African in 2017 and African Stars and UNAM in 2018.
“Therefore, we believe that it is possible to attract supporters in numbers to stadiums if all parties led by the clubs and supported by the NPL, NFA and sponsors work together in unison.”
The minister of sport, Erastus Uutoni, has also expressed his disappointment with the low turnout during the opening ceremony of the second edition of the Netball Pent Series in June at the Patrick Iyambo Police College Netball courts.
He urged Netball Namibia to work very hard next year in order for the event to attract more spectators.
Netball fans have blamed the poor attendance during the Pent Series on the timing of the matches which were played during week days in the morning and afternoon while many people were still at work.
Debmarine Namibia said it cannot make a decision on the dates of the event as it is the prerogative of Netball Namibia.
“It is worth pointing out that the administration of the two (Debmarine Namibia Cup and Pent Series) are placed under the governing bodies - the Namibia Football Association and Netball Namibia,” Ingwafa said.