By John Tuerijama
LAST week, a team comprising primary school boys and girls left for Botswana by bus to compete in the annual Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) Ball Games.
The Games bring together representative teams of primary school boys and girls who compete in football, netball and volleyball. Namibia finished third behind Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Just as quietly as they left the country, the Namibian team also sneaked back quietly, without much fanfare. Not even a media statement to announce to taxpayers how their money was spent in Gaborone.
But that is not the issue. The issue for me is that we should use these junior events to start laying a new foundation for our sports. All over the show, we hear complaints about the development structures that are not in place and how lack of funds is hampering sports development.
The fact that we are able to send Under-13 teams to represent the country testifies to the fact that there is money somewhere to develop sports. Mind you, Namibia hosted the COSSASA Athletics at the coast earlier this year.
We need to lay emphasis on these events which is the perfect opportunity for the country to re-establish itself as a key sports nation, especially among its Southern African Development Community (SADC) peers.
To become world beaters is a distant dream that will only materialise with serious investments in athletes, coaches, administrators and facilities. The fact that countries are raking in medals at events such as the Olympics is a direct result of their investment in their sports.
Namibia, always struggling with funds, should focus a lot of its energies on the regional events for youngsters. The seniors have had their time and have delivered next to nothing, save for a few codes such as football and rugby which have lately won the regional and continental championships, respectively.
Our young boys and girls are the future for our sports. We need to treat them with good care and provide them with all the necessary technical support that they and their mentors require.
If Namibia wants to be a medal contender at the Olympics in 20 years from now then an investment in the 13 year olds should start now.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015