By John Tuerijama
WE end this year on a very sad note. I am so disappointed and heartbroken that the man who penned the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) for all Namibians and built the Namibian House for all of us to occupy its rooms, has now come out in the open to sort of indicate that he wants nothing to do with sports.
There are varying reasons flouted around on what the President actually meant when he said sports must fend for itself and not expect Government to give more than it is already giving.
There are some who support his statement, specifically as it relates to the administration of football in this country. During the review of the HPP last week, the President lashed out at football administrators, saying they are good at criticising Government while they can’t run a simple football association. In the context of what is happening to football, the President’s frustration is very justified.
It is true that football administrators need to pull up their socks and do much better to resurrect the country’s number one code. One also wonders what triggered the President to lose his cool and have a go at the leadership of sport, particularly football. Is there something the sports fraternity needs to know?
The President’s name appears on the official documents of the Namibia Football Association as the patron of the association. Hasn’t there been any engagements between the NFA and its patron to ensure that football gets the assistance it requires? Or has the President, through his utterances, given up on the current leadership and their ability to run football affairs competently? What exactly is going on? The public deserves an answer.
The sentiments of the President are his sentiments. But he is not just an ordinary citizen. He is the president of this land and the patron of football, the sports code that needs his serious intervention.
The President seems to hide behind the fact that Government interference into football is frowned upon by FIFA, the world’s governing body of football. That is an oft misunderstood position and the head of state seems to have fallen for it. Supporting an organisation to reform by resourcing it adequately is not interference. It is support. Finish.
The issue with our sport codes is the life-long lack of funding by the Government and the not so forthcoming political will by our lawmakers to see sport as national priority. That’s the real story.
Our Government since its inception back in 1990 has never recognised sport as an economic pillar that greatly benefits athletes and their families. Compared to what other countries do for sport, Namibia’s contribution to sport pales in significance. At independence, the NFA received N$8 million for national team related programmes. Today, 26 years later, Government still gives that N$8 million per year while a country like Botswana has moved from N$8 million to over N$20 million per year.
I don’t know why and who said the Government must take over the day-to-day administration of our sport codes. All that administrators have been advocating for is sufficient funding into sport and not just necessarily football.
Sure, I do agree with the President’s assertion that sport codes are doing little or nothing to lure sport lovers to the stadiums. That is a fact that no one can dispute.
But again, one cannot entirely blame the sport administrators for that unfortunate situation as they simply don’t have the capital to market or simply pay for adverts.
The biggest problem in Namibian sport is the issue of adequate funding which then results into poor management of clubs and codes. For far too long, individuals have been running clubs and organisations, sometimes spending their own money to implement programmes and projects. How will such a code or club ever become sustainable if it is run on a hand to mouth basis?
Government must at least try once to resource sports adequately and see what the results will be. Parastatals are bailed out year in and out, why can’t Government create a special Harambee Prosperity Plan for sport to avoid thousands of young men and women become delinquents, drug addicts, thieves, hobos and what not.
All that sport is asking for is a sympathetic ear from Government. Nothing more. With that, I wish you all a blessed festive season and a happy 2017.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015