THE Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service has a Directorate of Sport, which has a well-documented range of strategic objectives.
Among these objectives are to build and upgrade sport facilities, to encourage all Namibians in all the regions to participate in the sport codes of their choice, to increase participation in sport and to identify, develop and manage talent.
It is also asked with affording elite athletes opportunities to compete internationally, with the aim of them securing professional contracts, while enhancing the international image of Namibia, through sport.
The question is whether any of these strategic objectives have been achieved in a substantial way.
How do we expect our athletes to flourish internationally, if we barely have any state-of-the-art sport facilities or sport fields, which could be utilised by our sportsmen and women?
How do we expect to produce future champions, when sport facilities are simply not a priority?
Khomas and Erongo benefited from the colonial regime, which built sport facilities where whites were concentrated, but 27 years after independence, our upcoming athletes in most of the other regions have no proper facilities to train and compete in.
Is this because the Directorate of Sport’s budget is so limited that even sports fields, whose construction started years ago, are far from being completed?
When will Namibia host international competitionsi in Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto, where more than half of the country’s population lives? With a sudden boost in sport infrastructure, Namibia may find itself in line to host continental or even global sporting spectacles. What is the Directorate of Sport actually doing, when the situation on the ground does not even begin to speak to it creating a conducive sporting environment in the regions? How is it preparing our athletes for participation in the Olympic Games, when we have over the years seen a continual reduction in the number of our athletes competing at this global showpiece?
Yes, the international participation of people with disabilities has improved dramatically, with our athletes doing the country proud.
However, the country’s performance could have been better, if there was a basic provision of sport facilities in all 14 regions.
And what about the provision of sport equipment, the encouragement of excellence in sport, financial assistance to national and international bodies, and the establishment of umbrella bodies?
We are yet to see impactful educational programmes on the value of sport or whether the directorate does provide regular exposure to international events or introduces prioritised sport codes in communities.
What is really happens to our regional sport committees? Recently, I read that there are regions that for the past seven to eight years have no sport officers.
How do we expect those regions to produce athletes, if the government does not even have sport representatives in these areas?
Apart from the bilateral agreement between Namibia and Germany, which sees our under-17 national football team travelling to Westphalia, through that development programme, what other development programmes are yielding results?
The National School Sports Union (NSSU) is one umbrella body vividly seen doing something tangible for the school sport development, although it is facing an uphill battle.
My call to the sport ministry is to revisit the priority areas of the Directorate of Sport.
The directorate, in turn, must try to conclude more bilateral agreements with African and other countries, to ensure that we have professional standard sports fields in all regions, within the next ten years.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015