MOBILE Telecommunication Company (MTC) yesterday announced a sponsorship of N$2 million each for Namibia's young athletics sensations Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi.
A day before their departure for the Tokyo Olympic Games, MTC announced its largest-ever sponsorship for sporting individuals, at a glittering press conference which included performances by Namibian singer Allen Jonathan (also known as Swart Baster), and a cultural dance group.
MTC spokesman Tim Ekandjo said the two athletes had galvanised a nation in difficult times.
"During this time of Covid-19 when people are dying, when people are sad, we are very thankful for two golden girls Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma, who have invigorated that spirit of unity and excitement in a country that is down, and in a world that is down. You could see what they did to world champions with their running, and that's the sort of Namibian spirit that I'm talking about," he said.
"It takes our country back to the time when Frankie Fredericks smashed records and that's the sort of feeling we get when these two young girls are putting our country on the map," he added.
Ekandjo said their sponsorship of N$2 million each for the next three years will cover various needs.
"We structured the deal in such a way that it takes care of their personal expenses and humanitarian needs, it takes care of their preparation and it takes care of the fact that they sometimes just want to go to the shop to buy a sweet.
"When the lights go off, everybody needs to go to a home, so the first part of the deal is that we are going to build each of these girls a home in their home village to the tune of N$300 000 each. While they are running out there they have parents and family members at home who need to sit comfortably and say we are celebrating our girls, and that's the sort of dignity that we want to restore," he said.
"The second part of the deal is we know that preparation for these events throughout the world is very expensive, and we want to make sure that they will go to a lot of other competitions after the Olympics as well. So each of them will get N$250 000 per year for preparation costs over the next three years so that they can just prepare and prepare.
"The one thing we take for granted is preparation, we want the Brave Warriors to come back with medals, but we don't invest in preparation and that's the sort of thing we do not want to do here," he added.
The two athletes as well as their coach Henk Botha will also receive brand new iPhone 12s valued at N$24 000 each, while all three will receive airtime of N$36 000 per annum.
Each athlete will also receive N$100 000 per year for personal upkeep and expenses over the three years.
MTC also committed to host a local athletics event in Namibia at a cost of N$1 million, to honour the achievements of both the athletes and to inspire other athletes.
Deputy minister of sport, youth and national services, Emma Kantema-Gaomas thanked MTC for their investment.
"Today we are witnessing a beautiful story that demonstrates that with partnership we can achieve better, we can develop legends. Thank you to MTC for the investment that we as a nation are cherishing today," she said.
"The business of sport today demands a paradigm shift. Gone are the days when sport was only for recreation. Now it is a business with viable economic outputs and should be treated as such," she added, saying her ministry was continuing to devise strategies and initiatives to empower the youth through sport.