SERIOUS indictment on Namibian Olympic Committee
Reports early this week that Namibian boxer, Jonas Junias was arrested in Brazil for an alleged sexual offence are disturbing. No one, not least the boxer himself, or the team’s leadership, expected that such a situation will unfold ahead of his first fight at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Early this week, the president of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC), Abner Xoagub, lamented the fact that Namibian media reported on the incident without contacting him for information. That was almost a day after news broke that Junias was arrested for the alleged sexual demeanour.
As soon as the news was picked up, the story spread like wildfire on social media. The leading news agencies and newspapers of American, European and African countries ran with the story on their social media platforms. In fact, Namibian media was the last to start to report on the issue. The reason is simple. They were frantically trying to locate the Team Namibia leadership to verify facts. With that not forthcoming, the media informed the Namibian on their social media platforms and in newspapers, as well as radio stations of what happened in Rio.
It is unfortunate that Xoagub wanted to pick a fight with the media for reporting the incident. It is also unfortunate that Xoagub wanted to divert attention from the real issue. The real issue is not even that the matter was reported by international and local media in the manner that it was. The real issue is that the NNOC was ill equipped for an incident like this. One never wishes for anything like this to happen to your own kind but when it happens you need to be adequately prepared to deal with the matter. The NNOC was clearly not prepared. As part of their delegation, the NNOC needed to have an official spokesperson to talk on team matters and on incidents such as this.
For all we know, something else could have happened. What about if a Namibian athlete was attacked on the streets of Brazil? The NNOC would still have had to say something about that. In essence, it is expected for organisations such as the NNOC to be prepared at all times, and that means having the right people to do the right things. That includes having a person who is a professional at liaising with the media and public when a situation demands that to happen.
The NNOC was aware of the incident involving Junias. They kept quiet until the media broke it on social media. Had the Al Jazeera journalist not tweeted about the incident, I bet my bottom dollar we would not have heard about this thing until much later in the day.
In future, the NNOC and any other club, federation or umbrella body taking Namibians to foreign countries should be well armed and by well-armed I mean having people with the right skill to be part of the delegation. Would it kill anyone if a PR guru who is not associated to any sports club or code is taken to act as official spokesperson during the Games? That would only help to bolster the image of the team and the country.
Unfortunately, we are now in the midst of a scandal that could have been managed better.
I pray that the parents of the boxer were informed before everyone else got wind of the story. I also pray that the boxer is not going through a rough time in custody, AND that he will get the psychological attention that he deserves when he is eventually set free. Failing that, we would have a hard time convincing the next youngster to go out there and represent his country with dignity.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015