Namibia’s athletics coaches feel their exclusion by Athletics Namibia (AN) from its ‘Developing Namibian Diamonds Training Camp’ is a slap in the face for all their hard work.
World Athletics through its Grant For Growth (GFG) is funding AN’s Developing Namibian Diamonds Training Camp slated for 22 to 26 May 2023 at The Dome in Swakopmund.
Four South African coaches, Khotso Mokoena, Shaun Bownes, Jacques van Rensburg and Paul Gorries have been invited to facilitate the five-day training.
In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, NUST Welwitschias coach Letu Hamhola said AN overlooking Namibian coaches is an insult and should be condemned.
“Athletics Namibia is undermining Namibian coaches. I don’t see why athletes should attend such an insulting camp. Our athletes are identified for this programme, and as a coach, I have no clue what the objective of this course is and what the athletes will be doing during this period of events,” he said.
He added that it’s not new to him being excluded from private events, but AN is a national institution, and therefore it’s their objective to invest in their own.
“We have one of the best coaches in the country, such as Robert Kaxuxwena who has produced Olympians, and Henk Botha, whose athlete won a medal at the Olympics. AN is saying Namibians are not good enough,” Hamhola said, adding that as coaches, they are in the business of outperforming South Africa, and their athletes have done it, therefore he doesn’t understand why AN did not invite local coaches who can share knowledge with their South African counterparts.
Hamhola, who coaches the current 200m champion Hatago Murere and Paralympians Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala, stated that he is a Level 5 athletics coach and is concerned that AN never consulted local coaches, and he is not aware of what criteria were used to select athletes.
Meanwhile, Henk Botha told this agency that the way the training camp is being done is not correct, and it’s not the first time such an issue has happened.
“As coaches we were never consulted, and with all due respect, our athletes have been outperforming the track and field athletes in South Africa. I don’t understand why [AN] will then bring coaches from South Africa to train our athletes without consulting any of us,” he said.
He added that the money used for the foreign coaches could have been used to buy equipment.
“Namibian coaches are doing this job as a passion. It would have been good if they got something from AN after working day in and out for free,” Botha said.
Robert Kaxuxwena, the coach of Helalia Johannes and 5000m national champion and record holder Daniel Paulus, said he doesn’t have a problem with foreign coaches being called to coach Namibian athletes, as long as the chosen athletes go with their coaches to this training camp.
“It’s important to gain experience from other coaches as a coach. Therefore, local coaches must be part of the camp,” Kaxuxwena said.
AN president Erwin Naimhwaka told Nampa on Wednesday that the idea of the camp and the invited coaches from South Africa should not be viewed as an assessment of the competency of local coaches.
“The previous project under the GFG included coaches where learning and knowledge exchange took place. The good feedback from the participants contributed to AN proposing this training camp,” he said.
Naimhwaka added that the camp is part of a process, and AN will continue with these processes as part of its development activities.
“We will expose the invited athletes to assessments that can assist with their training and development and an opportunity to learn from former international athletes making up the team of the invited coaches. The focus of the activity this time is on athletes and not coaches,” he said.
Naimhwaka said he is convinced the invited athletes will appreciate the training camp as it has the potential to have a long-lasting positive impact on their careers.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency