… Says NSC data shows sport transformation is happening
By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA Sports Commission (NSC) Chief Administrator, Freddy Mwiya, has lashed out at Office of the Ombudsman for publishing a report on racism and discrimination, which included allegations that rugby, hockey and cricket are not inclusive sport codes, without verifying this information with the commission first.
Ombudsman John Walters report, which was published in October, following a series of public hearings earlier this year, delves into racism and tribalism, and speaks of a nation divided, with discrimination persisting in the country 27 years after independence.
It also investigated racism in sport and highlighted that rugby, hockey and cricket as sport codes that were not inclusive, in terms of player representation.
The report also said that the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service should instruct the NSC to conduct an investigation into racism in sport. Mwiya, who spoke to Confidente this week, said that the NSC has documented data at its disposal, formulated since he took office in April this year, which indicates the various transformation programmes undertaken by a number of sport codes, in order to include people of colour. “They have not even visited our offices to verify these allegations. Looking at the indoor hockey national women’s team; it comprise of 12 players, of whom three are players of colour, while both the head coach and the fitness and mental coach are also from previously disadvantaged communities. “Looking at the national under-20 rugby team that went to Uruguay for the IRB World Rugby Trophy, 70 percent of the players were people of colour,” Mwiya said. He, however, conceded that cricket needs to speed up its transformation process, but cautioned that people must not overlook certain sport codes, which are predominantly black, and who also need to bring in some serious changes, in terms of their transformation processes. “They needed to be more objective, by scrutinising our data, as we have the information on the ground. I have shared the data we have with the Director of Sport, Shivute Katamba. So, we don’t need to be instructed by the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service to conduct an investigation into racism in sport, as recommended in the report, as we have already been doing that,” said Mwiya. “There is no need, because we know our mandate. I was surprised at the inflammatory statement, as the change is there; let me just advise people that they must attend sport events and take pictures of the national teams, to see the transformation.”
Mwiya said that normally national teams are not just sent to participate at sporting events, but compete in trial competitions, and thus the players selected for are the very best the country has.“Players are selected on merit and the NSC preaches the message of inclusivity, where no one must be left behind,” he said. Mwiya said that the purpose of the commission and its administrators is to build the country, through sport. “It’s, however, a pity that the report mostly concentrated on the national teams, instead of the respective grassroots programmes of the various sport codes, of which some take place across this vast country.”
Mwiya said that institutions such as the University of Namibia (Unam) and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) have dominated the national hockey and rugby leagues, with Unam winning the premier league for the past few years.
He said that the commission has also taken a decision to financially assist a rugby academy, based in a previously disadvantaged community, which has the potential to produce national team players in the next five years.
In its report, the Ombudsman said that they are concerned about the serious allegations of racism in sport and the apparent failure of the NSC to execute its duties and functions.
The report recommended that the sports ministry instructs the NSC to launch a thorough investigation into the allegations of racism and tribalism in sport, and that the ministry must also launch an investigation into the commission’s failure to execute its statutory duties, with regard to the awarding of national colours and the selection of national teams.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015