The Namibian people are passionate about sport as it is a source of great national pride and recreation.
This could partly be due to the favorable weather conditions which make sport a major pastime all over the country. Although the population of Namibia is small, there is still a vast array of sports that are offered at differing levels – both amateur and professional. Namibian sports spectators are dedicated to following their preferred sports and teams.
The main sports in Namibia are soccer, rugby, cricket, golf and fishing. Athletics and boxing are also very popular. Windhoek is the sports capital and the home of the national stadium, Independence Stadium, which is shared by all arena sports. There is also the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura which is also often used. There are 46 different sports federations and unions including for: dancing, netball, archery, badminton,
basketball, bowling, canoeing, chess, cycling, darts, eisstock, endurance riding, equestrian, fistball, gymnastics, hockey, judo, karate, motor sports, sailing, shooting, swimming, softball, squash, table tennis, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling.
The National Sports Federation of Namibia and the Namibian Sports Commission Mandate are responsible for overseeing the regulation of sports in the country.
The most popular team sport in Namibia is Soccer and the country joined FIFA in 1992, thus becoming an international player. The national soccer team participates regularly in the Africa Nations Cup qualifiers and played in the tournament for the first time in 1998 in Burkina Faso and again in 2008. Soccer is governed by the Namibia Football Association and the main domestic league is The Namibia Premier League. Namibia is yet to qualify for the FIFA World Cup although has been the runner up in the COSAFA Cup twice.
Popular local clubs include: Black Africa, Orlando Pirates, African Stars, Tigers, Blue Waters, Chief Santos and Oshakati City – with many names borrowed from European teams.
The beginnings of Namibian cricket are linked closely with South African cricket. However, in post independence, the Namibian Cricket Board was formed and began to develop the game nationally. Tours from England and the Netherlands were arranged and associate membership to the ICC was granted in 1992. Namibia hosted the 2007 World Cricket League Division 2.
Namibia’s most well known golfer is Trevor Dodds and Rossmund Desert Golf Course in Swakopmund is the most popular course.
Namibia has produced a number of successful boxers including Japhet Uutoni (won gold in 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2006
South Africa introduced the Rugby Union to Namibia in 1916 and today the Namibia Rugby Union is the main governing body. The national rugby team are known as the Welwitschia and they participate regularly at the Rugby World Cup. Up until independence, Namibian players were eligible to play for the South African National team and past Springboks born in Namibia include Jan Ellis and Percy Montgomery.
African Boxing championships), Paulus Ambunda (participated in 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens), Paulus Moses, Harry Simon and Joseph Jermia (participated in 2004 Summer Olympics and won bronze in 2003 All-Africa Games). Namibia was host of the final continental qualifying round for the 2008 Summer Olympics and three Namibians qualified, namely Japhet Uutoni, Mujandjae Kasuto and Julius Indongo. In January 2009, Paulus Moses won the WBA lightweight title in 2009.
Highlights of the Namibian sports calendar have included the Commonwealth Games of 2002 and 2006, the All Africa Games of 2003 and 2007, the Cricket World Cup of 2003, the Rugby World Cups of 2003, 2007 and 2011, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing respectively; and the 2008 African Cup of Nations finals in Ghana, and the 2012 Paralympics.
National sports heroes include Frankie Fredericks, Agnes Samaria, Eliphas Shivute, Mohammed Ouseb, Luketz Swartbooi, Elizabeth Mongudhi, Helalia Johannes, Beata Naigambo, Collin Benjamin, Paulus ‘The Hitman’ Moses, Mannie Heymans and Douw Calitz, and Johanna Benson.
Namibia Sport is Namibia’s leading sport magazine which has been in print since 2002, making it Namibia’s longest running independent magazine to date. The coverage of Namibian soccer has helped to professionalise the sport over the last few years. The magazine instituted soccer awards for the Player of the Month and Player of the Season.