By John Tuerijama
ALMOST on a daily basis, one hears how difficult it is for sports clubs or federations to acquire sponsorship or some other form of assistance from corporates.
There is indeed a heavy reliance on corporate Namibia for sports to survive, and rightly so. When people contribute to increasing your wealth, they naturally expect a return on their investment just like shareholders of companies expect returns on their investment in those companies. Fact is that without people, companies will not survive.
We are facing tough economic times. Even corporates are feeling the pinch. Some have declared huge profits but most of that money must be ploughed back into operations to ensure continued sustainability.
As a result, social causes like sports are denied an opportunity to benefit from those profits.
I was therefore happy to hear that the Namibia Hockey Union, one of the most active sport federations in the country, has secured an extension of their sponsorship from one of the commercial banks.
Although held in secrecy, the union held a successful awards ceremony which obviously gave the bank some mileage and an opportunity to tick the right social responsibility boxes.
It is a pity that media was not invited to cover the hockey awards and share with the rest of the country the federation’s successes during the year. It would also have been good to appreciate the challenges that hockey faced during the season. No individual or organisation goes through life without challenges of any kind. It is how you face those challenges that matters. For hockey to ‘ban’ the media from its awards is a blot on their otherwise excellent achievement.
That notwithstanding, there is a lesson to learn from hockey. It is a small code with a big heart. Throughout the year, hockey players have crossed the border into South Africa several times and even came back with positive results.
In addition, hockey has also been running a development programme at schools. We are still not seeing this programme translating into rural areas taking hockey very seriously but the leadership of the NHU needs to be commended for their perseverance. One day, they will hit the bull’s eye and who knows, hockey might just become the leading sport in the country. But that is still a mile away.
In the meantime, however, hockey needs to share with other codes its recipe for convincing sponsors to come on board. What is their formula for success, how can this be emulated by other clubs and federations, and even individual sportspersons?
Hockey can share with other codes exactly what sponsors look at before they commit their funds for any purpose. It is perhaps efficient administration, proper execution of year plans, qualified coaches and administrators? What exactly do sponsors look at? Hockey should be willing to offer advice to other codes to learn from and implement those key success drivers.
Until that is done, I am afraid, many sports codes will continue to struggle and their affairs will continue to be run from briefcases. That, definitely, does not augur well for a country that wants to professionalise its sport and make it one of the biggest contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015