By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA failed to scoop a single award at the just-concluded annual African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Annual Sports Awards (RASA), an exact contrast of how the country’s athletes performed at the 2017 edition of the same awards.
Nine Namibian athletes were nominated for this year’s awards, however only four made it to South Africa for the glittering event.
The Land of the Brave nominated all her top athletes from last year’s Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Sport Awards, however, the country did not submit any nominations for the portfolio of sportsperson of the year and the journalist of the year categories.
Speaking to Confidente on Namibia’s dismal showing at RASA, NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya blamed the poor showing at the regional awards ceremony on a lack of international competitions.
He added that Namibian athletes compared to their regional counterparts compete in few international competitions which he attributes to the under-achievement at the RASA ceremony. “Yes, we did very well last year but that did not mean that we had to repeat the same feat this year. There are ten countries competing for the auspicious prizes, and again that depends on the panel of judges who used their own criteria,” stressed Mwiya.
“We do not know which credentials were used in choosing the eventual winners but whatever the outcome we must respect the judges decisions. “We were extremely happy with our achievement last year as we entered in all categories. As you very well know our athletes did very well at the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games while other sport codes took part in individual sporting events.”
Mwiya continued: “We cannot control judges’ decisions but as a country we need to ensure that our athletes compete internationally and that could be done if the corporate sector comes on board than our athletes will stand a good chance.” He added that there are important competitions scheduled such as the Junior African games, Youth Olympic Games and various international events where Namibian athletes can do very well and stand a chance to walk away with prizes next year. He added that South African athletes normally take part in more than three athletic events such as the world championships, grand prix and indoor competitions. However, he believes, budget constraints will make it difficult for locals to partake. The Namibian Government through the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service will host the RASA 2019 edition. Mwiya added that the regional sport award is hosted by governments, and Namibia through the line ministry will host the event in conjunction with the Namibia Sports Commission. “I think the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni will likely appoint a local organizing committee tasked with the arrangements.” “We should not lose faith because there are ten countries eyeing for top honours at the RASA awards. All we need to do is accept the outcome and go back to the drawing board to chart a way that will improve our chances next year.” Quoted by AUSC official website recently, Stanley Mutoya, the AUSC Region 5 CEO says he is excited to see the RASA brand grow in the manner in which it has, since its inaugural edition in 2016.
“Today we have nine member countries taking part in the third edition, a serious growth because in 2016 we only had five member countries taking part. This is an indication that we have a good product to commercialize and know the corporates in our region will be keen to partner with us,” Mutoya explained.
As per the AUSC Region 5 Awards Rulebook, the primary mandate of the AUSC Region 5 is to encourage all nine member countries to host national sport awards preceding the RASA. The winners at country level are automatically entered as RASA nominees. All these nominees are already winners in their own right, and now it’s all about triumph at the regional level.
Winners of national sport awards look forward to be paired with. There are talks to have more activities during the RASA week to further give this event more excitement and opportunities for the nominees and corporates interact with local hosting country’s citizens by giving back in a social responsibility initiatives.
The AUSC Region 5, is the sports arm of the African Union, which was once the Organization of African Unity. It was formed in the 1960’s. The main aim of the AUSC is to use sports to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa. Sport as a vehicle of encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of color, economic status, political, class or gender.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015