By John Tuerijama
WHO says smaller nations cannot make it to bigger world sport spectacles? And just like tiny Iceland made it to the 2018 World Cup currently underway in Russia, Minister of Sport Erastus Uutoni dreams of the Brave Warriors making it one day to football’s grandest showdown.
Iceland put up a dramatic performance in their opening match against Argentina on Saturday, when the Nordic island nation held the former world champions marshalled by Lionel Messi to a one-all draw.
Ranked 116th on the June FIFA world ranking, the Brave Warriors have a daunting task to make their eventual birth at any future FIFA world cup showdown.
Speaking during the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) FIFA World Cup launch recently, Uutoni said: “My ultimate wish is that the Brave Warriors will do well in the competitive Confederation of African Football (CAF) tournaments, and at least qualify as one of the five African countries in the FIFA World Cup, why not.”
“I strongly believe that for us to achieve that objective, we as a country need to do a very serious introspection and learn from other successful countries on best practises and learn from their success-stories in sport,” said the Minister. He said one should follow the example of Australia where in sport the country took intellectual capital as the key ingredient. Australia’s sporting ability, according to studies, was founded on excellence off the field.
The Minister said when Australia won only five gold medals at the 1976 Olympic Games, the Australian government declared a ‘state of emergency’ at which an action plan was required to propel sport to new levels of excellence.
“Clearly the plan succeeded because at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games the Australian athletes raked in 58 medals including 16 gold medals,” stressed Uutoni. The Minister said Australia invested massively in sports development about N$ 2.5 billion in the four years prior to the Sydney Games, and that secondly and more importantly, the effect of the investment was to increase their medical, scientific and practical sporting knowledge exponentially at all levels and in all disciplines from coaches and administrators to fitness experts, doctors, physiotherapists and psychologists.
As for Namibian sport, the Minister said that developing such competence will greatly require serious funding. “We as Namibians must re-examine our approach to sports sponsorship. Expecting government alone to come up with the requisite funds is a non-starter,” said the Minister.
He also questioned whether the corporate sport sponsorship currently being received was applied optimally and in a way that grows sporting knowledge. “Before corporates invest their sponsorship, perhaps they should be scrutinising their motives and demanding a new form of return. They must be asking how will their sponsorship secure the competitiveness excellence of Namibian sport, as in Australia.”
Uutoni added that it is high time that the power struggles seen in Namibian sport today are buried once and for all, so that sport administrators focus their attention on developing sport.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015