Making basketball history

The Namibian women’s basketball team will represent the country at the first African Beach Games from 14 to 23 June.

25 June 2019 | Education

Mariselle Stofberg

The Namibian Basketball Federation (NBF), with the help of the Namibia National Olympic Sports Committee (NNOC), sent a 3X3 women’s national basketball team to the first-ever African Beach Games.

Sarah Severus (24), Victoria Netumbo (27), Gie Mukumbuta (27) and Sylvia Sawahenga (29) are the first Namibian female 3X3 basketball team.

“Representation matters. Thanks to the ladies going to compete in such competitions, other little girls have someone to look up to. Female basketball is yet to become popular and this representation will encourage youngsters to join in on the fun and aim for such national recognition as well,” said Jacobina Uushona, the public relations officer for the Basketball Artists School (BAS) and the NBF.

The team left the country on Sunday. The games will all be played on the Island of Sal, Cape Verde.

NBF secretary-general Ramah Mumba said this is the first time that Namibia is recognised on such a platform in basketball, and he could not be prouder of the team. “The team has already made us very proud by being part of such a historic event in sports history, specifically in basketball.”

Preliminary games were held in Windhoek in May.

The team was chosen after the stood out by winning the tournament. Ons this basis they gained their national colours as the country’s 3X3 women’s national basketball team.

Uushona believes the team will serve as an inspiration to youth in the country. “Opportunities such as these give the younger athletes something to work towards. The youth need motivation to do something and sport is no different. Working towards rewards like gaining national colours and wearing the country's emblem on your chest is every athlete’s dream, in my opinion. The federation creating such opportunities proves that they are there for the athletes’ betterment and having their skills exposed to bigger crowds,” Uushona added.

NBF development officer Malakia Matias is the chaperone of the team.

“Hopefully this serves as a reminder to the young players that there is indeed much to look forward to in basketball and sport in general.”

Matias has helped the ladies prepare for the competition and will thus continue to ensure they are overseen and prepared. Netumbo said the team is extremely proud to represent their country.

“We will wear our national colours with pride and we appreciate the support coming from everybody. We will do our utmost best to make everyone proud.”

According to Uushona the players will not only be remembered in Namibia, but internationally as well.

“It is a great way to expose our female basketball players to what is out there and have them bring back the experience for future teams after them. The ladies are thus not only representing themselves but an entire sports code, and moreover, our country.”

The African Beach Games will cater for 11 sport codes, all of which will be played on a ‘beach’ setting. Cape Verde will be hosting these inaugural games with 54 countries and 1 000 athletes participating.

“Basketball is yet to become a well-recognised sport and as such the lengths to which one can go in creating history are endless. We are yet to make a name for ourselves nationally and internationally in basketball. This is a good reason why the participation of the ladies is a positive impact for up-and-coming players and the sport in general,” Uushona said.

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