Who Are the Real Benefactors?

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Carlos Kambaekwa While the corporate world are heeding the call to render financial assistance to various sport disciplines, clubs and associations, the playing ground remains unleveled and extremely thorny for those responsible for the togetherness of these institutions, the athletes. How does any sober-minded soul explain the justification in trying to wangle your way around rocky paths and some not-so-funky course to complete a grueling 42-kilometre marathon, for paltry moola of five-hunny, obviously if you happen to show your competitors a clean pair of heels? Disgruntled athletes who braved the chilly weather conditions to participate in last weekend’s annual Midgard Marathon were left ruing their error in judgement by skipping the corresponding Agnes Samaria Street Mile at Oshakati, where the takings were much more attractive. It took more than three jibbos to lay one’s hands on a five-hunny after a 42-kilometre marathon, whereas “Gatvatters” pocketed five times that amount for cruising less than four minutes in a 1,600-metres race – that’s an absolute piece of exploitation and yours truly is genuinely not in appreciation of that style. A two-piece band, with a little bit of help from this Japanese hip was roped in to provide some sort of entertainment and jack up the mood of the seemingly disinterested athletes, who had already more on their plate as they were rumbling about the meager moola at stake. The two musos, who clearly appeared to be novices in the music industry, including several other supporting casts were handsomely remunerated for their input while the event’s main attraction, (the athletes) had to pick up the morsels. The poor athletes have a dim good reason to feel needled because they certainly deserve more than what they got, and what also turned the whole thing into a circus was the secrecy surrounding the prize money for those victorious in the respective categories, which was only revealed after the competition of the race. Alas, these dudes are also no longer laaities and surely need to wake up and smell the Java, otherwise how the bloody hell does one just start slaving without agreeing on the terms of payment – come on outies !! that’s just not on. One extremely ambitious runner had to call it quits halfway through the race after he jogged his lungs to a virtual standstill because the brother was so eager to catch up with the front runners after missing the takeoff for the main race, and believe you me, he was up there after the first ten kilometers and would have left Frank Fredericks with envy considering the time he clocked to get on equal terms with the rest of the bunch. The poor dude was in such a bad state and was completely incoherent during the post-race interviews, ag sies, when a question was eventually put to him as to where to now from his abbreviated venture, he simply replied – ja from here I’m going back to Windhoek. And to crown it all, he blamed his troublesome knee for the failure to complete the race, than after a few jiffies he would come back and claim the knee was actually fine now, but thought the actual hiccup should be attributed to some chest crumbs and a terrible headache, leaving seasoned journos in stitches. Now some lost souls are still pondering as to why the number of participants has tumbled from 250 to 160 this time around. Athletes have to be up by four in the morning and find their way to the venue, situated almost 150 kilomteres north-east of Windhoek, which resulted in many runners missing the start. The event sponsors injected an amount of N$130 000-00 for the hosting of the event, but according to reliable sources, a good chuck of moola was ostensibly spent on administration. Is it not perhaps time for sport authorities to start keeping their ears to the ground and take a closer look into these shallow arrangements between sponsors and sport codes. Who are the real benefactors? – certainly not athletes, because it appears that those in charge are in cahoots with their backers to make dim sure a sizeable amount of moola trickles back to its origin in one form or the other. Lastly, I just can’t resist a parting shot at football. Some of the officiating in the Namib Premiership is pathetic and here I’m referring to last weekend’s crucial league match between Civics and Tigers, which nearly ended in chaos. Civics pulled off a last minute victory over Tigers in a closely-contested encounter after William Chilufya’s clearly offside goal was allowed to stand for reasons only known to the match officials. The match official was just not up to standard for a tie of this magnitude and confirmed his incompetence when he dispatched a Tigers player for a minor offence to balance the scales after he had justifiably sent off a player from the opposition in an earlier incident. Luckily, Tigers did not need the points at that point in time – but the team’s pride and the coach’s job is at stake my outies, you surely need to jack up your act, so I rest my case. In the meantime, I’m off – talk to you next Friday.