THOUGH we have had isolated instances where racism has reared its ugly head in sport, 28-years after Independence, it’s time for the leadership of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service to embark upon a process of inking the long-awaited policy tackling racism in sport. I commend the Sports Commission for having undertaken a blistering process of interviewing various sport administrators of the different sport codes on racism in sport. But I must suggest that whatever outcome of that exercise I have no doubt in my mind that it warrants the sports leadership to have a policy that has to spell out what actions should be taken when a coach, administrators or an athlete is found to promote racism in sport. We have sport codes that are still dominated by one section of society, but that doesn’t mean they are racist, it’s just that some quarters of society simply don’t like the sport, for instance angling or shooting. The policy on racism must clearly spell out what a sport code must undertake in the fight against racism and note that tribalism in sport is also rife. What do we as a nation need to do to ensure that there is zero-tolerance and that sport must be seen as the unifier of our young people? I have had the opportunity to travel with some national teams to various competitions, especially in the southern part of Africa, and what I have observed is heart-breaking. Here we have a national team, but players tend to align themselves according to race or tribe, a situation which has to be discouraged by all means. Just like the Ministry of Sport had pushed Cabinet to approve the policies on rewarding sport achievers, the same must be undertaken to have a policy on racism in sport. Athletes, coaches and sport administrators accused of promoting racism or tribalism through sport must account for their actions, and if found guilty must be punished accordingly or perhaps banned for a number of years or even for life. It’s understandable that the national under- 16 hockey coach was removed following the recent racism incident but that does that mean the coach is forbidden to coach any national team in future. There are several instances of racism that go undocumented. The National Coordinator of the Namibia National School Sport Union (NNSU) must provide a report since he deals with school sport and that is the foundation where the focus must be engineered. Schools’ sport must help develop sportsmanship through sport at the basic level and junior national team’s coaches must undergo a test that will ascertain their expertise and why they should be given such responsibilities. Notwithstanding the fact that we do have national teams that are predominantly black does not mean white Namibians cannot be accommodated, but there is simply no interest from them in certain sport codes. I must commend Netball Namibia for having blended both black and white players in their various national teams. Rugby has also done well in integrating players from different ethnic backgrounds. As Namibians, we must think in unison and that’s how we are going to become a rainbow nation that doesn’t see colour, but a united nation willing to conquer the world through sport. Now is the time to come up with a policy that deals with racism in sport!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015