New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Young Golfers Drive Deep and Straight

Windhoek — Gone are the days when the white man would swing the clubs, while the black man would carry the bag as the caddy. Also, gone are the days when the white man would tee-off into the rough and the black man would run to go and fetch the ball.

A relatively unknown boy from Swakopmund's residential area of Mondesa has invaded what was previously a sacred pastime for the elite only - the game of golf.

And if you thought you were too young to represent your country at the highest level of international competition - please don't despair. Two fairly young, but highly- promising golf protégés left the country to compete in the Junior British Golf Open in the United Kingdom underway at the Fairhaven Golf Club in Wales.

Last week saw pocket-sized 8-handicap golfer Likius Nande and Jessica Dreesbeimdieke jet out to the United Kingdom where the two 15-year-olds will be rubbing shoulders with some of the finest young golfers in the business. Prior to their departure, the pair paid a courtesy call on the Mana-ging Director of Nebank Namibia Erastus Hoveka, the Namibia Junior Golf Foundation (NJGF) headline sponsor over the last five years.

"We have always professed our wish to establish an alliance philosophy as opposed to a mere sponsorship philosophy. I'm very proud of the partnership that we have since succeeded in establishing and none more so than the alliance that we managed to forge with the Namibia Junior Golf Foundation since 2007," elaborated the articulate Hoveka.

Hoveka added that the values taught to youngsters who take up the game of golf also find resonance in Nedbank's own corporate values of integrity, respect, accountability, pushing beyond the boundaries and employing a people-centered approach in the manner in which they conduct business.

"By the same token, the discipline, sportsmanship and principled character of the game are aspects that we can closely identify with," said Hoveka, while applauding the executive of the NJGF, parents and young golfers for their passionate dedication to the cause of junior golf development in Namibia.

As a result of the partnership between Nedbank Namibia and NJGF, there has been a rapid rise in the standard of domestic golf with five of the country's current top eight golfers coming from the junior ranks.

The two youngsters wrapped up their preparations with some commendable showing in several high-profile events. Jessica won several competitions in both the junior and senior categories on the local circuit.

She also finished an astonishing 4th place at the Asia Pacific World Schools Golf Tourney in Australia in April this year.

Despite his rookie tag, after only two years on the golf course, young Likius has set tongues wagging with his amazing talent belying his tender age. The youngster has scored some impressive victories in the last couple of months and could become a force to be reckoned with in the not too distant future.

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