Shooting From The Hip – Namibian Sports on Downward Spiral


Carlos Kambaekwa Did I hear somebody from the highest authority saying that the somewhat abbreviated contingent to the Pan-African Games underway in Algiers, was some sort of results-driven exercise? Yours truly is not in the habit of buying easily into cheap tricks and lame excuses – as much as many of us value quality more than quantity, we should not fool ourselves into believing that Namibia has taken the right path by just selecting the best athletes for the 9th edition of the continental showpiece. We just don’t have athletes in the mould of Frank Fredericks, Mannie Heymans and Friedhelm Sack to compete at the highest level. Statistics can attest to my argument that Namibian sports, athletics in particular, is on a self-inflicted downward spiral journey with very few athletes showing any intention of filling the huge vacuum left by the legendary Frank Fredericks, let alone to emulate his feat. If one takes a closer look at the composition of the eight disciplines representing our nation, you will notice that almost every sports code consists of the very same old faces that have been around the block a couple of times with minimal success. Apart from middle-distance queen Agnes Samaria, cyclist Erik Hoffman, emerging marathoner Hilaria Johannes, Boxing and, to a lesser extent, the tiny little girls in the Gymnastics team, there are very few medal hopefuls from Team Namibia, and the chances of Namibia coming back with a couple of medals – never mind the colour – remains doubtful. Over the years, Team Namibia has always resembled a mixture of some kind of an Invitational team from Europe, and sports authorities really need to look over their shoulders and do a spot check whether any progress has been made in the area of transformation and geographic representation. The question is: why does it take ages for the predominantly white disciplines to integrate athletes of colour into their set-up? I’m not a great admirer of the quota system, but the line Ministry and the National Sports Commission have a mandate to oversee that people from all walks of life are given enough opportunities to partake in sport. Cycling failed dismally to unearth a chain-crusher of note, but the street-smart Laanies did not just rest on their laurels – they acted swiftly and incorporated a darkie broer in their entourage – as a Mechanic, nogal! Nevertheless, let us all rally behind our athletes and wish them the best of luck in Algeria. Pen-Pushers in League Administration Should Keep Their Tails Between Their Legs Can somebody please put a lid on that young man in the Namib Premier League office who appears to have grown a tail far too long for his size? The brother is becoming a nuisance to many football followers with his lack of basic knowledge about the finer points of the game of football. It is about time the Chairman of the elite League put this young man exactly where he belongs – behind a desk and make him stick to statistics without uttering a single word on matters concerning the beautiful game. Its common knowledge in league football that points are not won on the green table but on the playing surface, unless otherwise decided by a competent tribunal or relevant authorities should any misconduct have been reported, as in the case of the abandoned Division One league match, which was to have taken place between Fedics and Bee Bob Brothers. This particular fixture failed to materialize because of the latter’s failure to honour their obligation for some yet-to-be-determined reason. And just remember, there’s a certain clause in the Namibian Constitution that states very clearly that a person is considered innocent until proven otherwise by a court of law. Football authorities should by all means knuckle down to some serious business and get to the root of the problems surrounding match-fixing in domestic football. Last weekend saw a record-breaking score line of 31 goals in just over 90 minutes of action after title-chasing Invincible walloped eight-men – Flying Eagles – by 27 goals to 4. Unless something drastic is done, league football would be rendered non-competitive with the avalanche of goals we have been witnessing of late in all tiers of competition – notably, when promotion or relegation battles beckon. Football needs calculated minds to tackle this ugly phenomenon and not the usual emotional hearts we have become so accustomed to, and this is where the sponsors can flex their muscles since they have been professing to put piles of emphasis on good Corporate Governance. The sponsors put lots of moolah into the coffers of domestic football and would in all honesty have to put their foot on the ball to stop the rot before it gets out of hand. It’s no use backing a product without checking how the content of that particular commodity is being promoted. As it stands, things are definitely cooking in the various leagues as the race for promotion intensifies, or how does one explain a situation where a home team takes the field against their visitors with only eight players on their team list, while another team just fails to pitch for a league match scheduled within walking distance of their stable?