Looking Forward to the New Year

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Carlos Kambaekwa JA!! It’s that time of the year again when many people including loafers suspiciously look over their shoulders trying to patch up some missing links over the last 12-months, and ponder their next move ahead of the new year. The past year was not exactly a good one for Namibian sport – but I’ve just decided to direct my energies on the positives rather than wasting my precious time on things that I would not be able to change, because my arrows appear to be running out of poison whenever I’m trying to call some dickheads to order. Some thick-skull sport administrators are behaving like a bunch of blind men locked in a dark room and are so hung up on power that they would stop at nothing to fight a lost cause even if they have to borrow rusty bullets from seasoned hunters to take aim at their critics. Next year will be a season to be remembered!! starting with Africa’s biggest showpiece, the African Nations Cup finals in Egypt, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, and to put the cherry on top of the cake – the world would come to a virtual standstill when the inflated pigskin gets rolled at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, and who in his or her sober mind would not cherish a moment of seeing the world’s greatest entertainers on display. Talk about Ronaldhino, Michael Ballack, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba, Raul Gonzales, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Michael Essien and you have a sporting menu good enough to keep you afloat for an entire month without having to resort to starters, desserts and all that kind of JAZZ. 2005 is certainly a historic year for Namibian sport, football in particular – who would ever forget what unfolded on that historic chilly evening in a packed white tent outside the Windhoek Country Club Resort last September. Domestic football under the leadership of Judge President Petrus Damaseb reached another milestone when three local companies MTC, FNB and NBL ganged up to ensure the beautiful game is taken to the next level with the announcement of a record-breaking hefty sponsorship deal totaling Forty-Million-Dollars over a period of five years. Add the prize money from the annual pipeopener the Humphries Floating Trophy to the already wealthy MTC NFA Cup, FNB X-mas Cup, NBL Cup and the beefy cheque towards the end of the season for the Namib Premier League winners and the most sucessful team in top flight football can have a healthy bank balance of over One-Million-Dollars – and I’m still hearing people uttering the word amateur in our football setup – heita ! wake up, smell the java, and face up to reality. I would also like to doff my korrie to local Players Manager Collin April, for his vision in affording local footballers the opportunity to earn a living through the magic of their feet. The likes of Quinton Jacobs, Richard Gariseb, and Paulus “Wire” Shipanga are now household names in both the Professional Soccer League and the MVELA Golden League in South Africa. Another newcomer to the South African Professional Soccer League is former Ramblers’ striker Henrico Botes, who has fitted like a glove in the Swallows nest with a little bit of help from fellow countrymen Mo-hammed Ouseb and George Hummel. Though Botes did not arrive in the City of Gold via Collin April, the arrival of Gariseb and Shipanga has certainly opened the door for other talented Namibians to carve a name for themselves in the paid ranks. It is an open secret that I’m a diehard Amakhosi fan, but alas, the old adage that blood is thicker than water came down to haunt me these days, as I’m now having butterflies running riot in my belly everytime the Dube Birds take the field with Namibian-bred chickens in their nest. Whenever I lay my hands on the bi-monthly Kick Off Soccer Magazine, I always check the match stats of Swallows, Santos, Ajax Cape Town, Bush Bucs and Bidvest Wits to monitor the progress of our players and would be extremelyÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ºworried if I don’t see George Hummel, Ricardo Mannetti or Robert Nauseb featuring regularly for their respective clubs, but then I always take consolation that they have been battling injuries. A final word before I call it quits, I would like to congratulate Blue Waters and their shrewd coach Sheperd Murape for last weekend’s victory in the lucrative FNB Christmas Knock Out Cup last Saturday, and of course the organizers for the electrifying atmosphere prevailing during the final. Though the football on the pitch was not the best to market our brand, considering the presence of former Leeds and Bafana captain Lucas, “the Chief” Radebe. To be quite honest, I thought it would be another walk in park for the “Beautiful Birds”, but the Samba Boys were in mean mood and harboured no ideas of disappointing their hundreds of fans who came out in large numbers to support their beloved team. African Stars, playing in a rare final, were by far the better side on the day and should have won comfortably had lady luck not turned her cheek on the Katutura giants – again, the breakthrough was Murape’s technical ability as he out-thought his counterpart with a confusing game plan, despite his charges being on the ropes for the better part of the marathon two-hour encounter. Had it been a boxing bout, the referee would have most probably stopped the fight on the basis of a TKO, excuse the pun!!. However, Stars can still take solace from the performance and build on it – the sky is the limit and I’ve always maintained that any domestic league without African Stars is not a proper league and this was proven last Saturday. Once again, the marketing aspect of our game needs to be jacked up big time – there is no business in playing a cup final in front of a half-empty stadium. The organizers should have gone a step further by giving free access to young kids and elderly ones from the surrounding areas to fill the open stand on the eastern side. The other worrisome issue is the scheduling of matches within a space of less than 24-hours, come on gents!! This exercise is certainly not on and somebody really needs to apply brakes in this regard. Players’ bodies need a recovery period to produce the goods, but alas, how can we expect the boys to perform if we drive them like slaves ?. Ja, that’s it for the time being, nevertheless have a wonderful CHRISA, and try by all means to keep the “Haya Water of Moag” at arm’s length while negotiating the sticks.