OVER the past two decades, the country’s sport administrators have sung the anthem that Namibia needs to participate in international competitions, in order to gain exposure and experience.
We have heard time and time again, when national teams fail to excel, that the most important thing is that they have participated.
I, for one, believe that the time has now come to do away with this Mickey Mouse thinking, of simply having teams at international competitions, just so they can gain experience.
I want to echo the sentiments of former National Sports Commission (NSC) and Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) heavyweights, and lately that of the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero, that the time has now arrived to bring home the medals and not simply participate. We can no longer be happy with the status quo.
What is wrong with our sport leadership?
Perhaps one of the key reasons for the ongoing mediocrity is that most of these sport codes don’t have a well-articulated and clearly spelt out blueprint, to guide them towards a level where they can compete successfully on the world stage.
For Namibia to be truly recognised as a sporting nation, we need to go back to the drawing board, and clearly chart the way forward.
How do we expect national teams, such as our very own netball team, to flourish internationally, if there are no grassroots development programmes in place?
And yet, the netball leadership tell us that they want the nation to regain its international ranking. How do they expect to accomplish this, if netball is only concentrated in the Windhoek area?
It’s a shame and a white lie to be told that the national netball side can reclaim its glory days.
As far as I am concern, if we don’t draw up either a five or ten-year plan for our various sport codes, then we can forget about excelling internationally. I’m not oblivious to what is happening on the ground, and there are sport codes that are doing extremely well, such as hockey, junior rugby, kickboxing, boxing and cricket, who have all laid the groundwork for their successes.
Let’s not fool ourselves; there are countries, who in past years were just participants, but now these nations are excelling in leaps and bounds. Why?
The corporate world wants to be associated with winning sport codes, but if administrators can’t sell their product, why then will private companies inject money into sport?
My humble request to sport codes, such as netball, football and many other lacklustre underperformers, is that they please go back to the drawing board, and truly chart a way forward, which will make us competitors and not merely participants.
We have athletes that have qualified for the IAAF World U-18 Championships, scheduled to take place from 12 July to 16 July, and two of our amateur boxers recently booked themselves places at the 2017 Amateur International boxing Association (AIBA) World Boxing Championships, slated for 25 August to 3 September, in Hamburg, Germany.
However, the question remains: Are our junior athletes receiving the very best preparation, looking at their diet, training programs and fitness levels, etcetera? Is there money for these young, upcoming athletes to thoroughly prepare themselves for these international competitions?
The time has now come to stop expressing optimism about the experience that our national teams gain by losing.
We need to cultivate a winning culture in this country, where heads roll when teams come back empty-handed.
Participation is not good enough anymore
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015