THIS year was by all accounts a good year for Namibian sports. The sportsmen and women have really gone the extra mile to provide entertainment and ensure bright smiles on the faces of thousands of Namibian faces.
Who will forget the euphoria that engulfed the nation when the Brave Warriors won the COSAFA Cup in South Africa? Very few believed that the boys will make an impact in the tournament but they came out as the last men standing. The victory even earned each player a N$50 000 bonus from the government through the orchestrations of State House.
The national team playing in the Rugby World Cup against New Zealand had us all on the edges of our seats. Those are moments to savour forever.
But beneath our broad smiles are big question marks about the future of our sports. Yes, here and there, we forget our sports stresses by celebrating this or the other achievement. However, for the better of the year, there are challenges that need to be overcome on the sports field and in the boardroom.
There are more political squabbles in sport than there are gold medals on the sports fields. Who needs to be reminded of the non-participation of netball in a tournament that would have earned them a respectable position on the world rankings? Why is it that some sports codes always never seem to get any form of assistance from the Sports Ministry or Sports Commission while others just snap their fingers and get bucket loads of money for international commitments?
Those are questions that need serious introspection among sports officials. Serious answers need to be given to serious questions. The corporates are refusing to come to the party. There are only a handful who are committing their profits to sports sponsorship while others rake in billions of dollars but plough nothing back to the communities which they sell their products to.
These issues could be addressed sufficiently if more time was spent on looking at the interests of athletes rather than fighting each other in the boardrooms and corridors of sport.
It has become tiring to sing the old song which says sports could be a key contributor to the country’s GDP. Indeed, sports is already making a difference. Boys and girls, men and women, who could otherwise be beggars on the streets are feeding their families with money they get from sports.
With a bit more seriousness, more and more Namibian men and women could be helping their families while doing the thing they love – sports.
In the coming year, sports leaders must resolve and commit to putting their own interests aside and work to improve the lot of sportsmen and women. It is already painful that only two Namibians have so far qualified to compete in next year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We could have had many more if we had the foresight to start planning four or eight years ago.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015