Shooting From The Hip – Why Has Netball Gone to the Dogs?

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Many sport enthusiasts have probably often wondered, apart from the casual Khomas League, why is Namibian netball not featuring in regional or global competitions let alone having national championships anymore?

Well! The World Championships just ended in Auckland, New Zealand last week where Australia became the new World Champions after beating hosts New Zealand in the final.

As has become customary practice in recent years, the African continent was represented by South Africa and Malawi, with Namibia a notable absentee for the umpteenth time.

Namibia used to be the second best netball playing nation on the African continent behind the South African Proteas, but personality clashes and premeditated rumblings within the top echelon of this once blossoming discipline made room for all stray dogs to have a field day on Namibian netball.

Ironically, Malawi toppled South Africa as the continent’s number one after narrowly beating the Proteas for the 5th place play-offs

Yours truly knows and understand it’s not entirely the responsibility of sport authorities (Sport Commission) alone to ensure progress and sustainable development programmes amongst its subjects, but alas the Commission has a central role to define development programmes and demand feedback from all its affiliates.

Whenever failure crops up we have been subjected to all sorts of lame excuses ranging from inadequate funding, lack of proper recreational facilities and of course the worn out one – the previous regime, which has become a soft target for all our wrongdoings.

Within the framework of the Commission’s role there can be a great deal of freedom in regard to the way in which resources are planned and the administration and management of sport establishments, but all that depends entirely on the level of organization of the people who are participating in the decision making.

This does not mean that every aspect of sport must be bureaucratically decided on by some unquenchable so-called sport administrators whose egos appear to get the better of them at times, obviously with catastrophic consequences.

If a country like Malawi with all its limited resources can become continental champions and world beaters in a predominantly white sport – we should honestly start posing questions to ourselves; where did we go wrong and what must we do to get out of the quagmire?

By the way, what happened to Carol Garoes’ laughable claim that Namibia was crowned continental champions after defeating rookies Ghana in a meaningless two-legged test and when did Namibia lose her precious crown?

Ja, a leopard just never changes its spots – sport is all about competition and to become African Champions, you have to beat the best on the continent – that’s the bottom line!

Football Authorities Caught Snoozing Again

When I first learned that the Namibian Football Association was harbouring ambitions of bidding to host the maiden edition of what would become the annual Confederation of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Under-17 competition – I thought this was just another publicity stunt.

Not this time around, the country’s football authorities will definitely play host to the youth tournament in two weeks’ time, to be precise.

Not that yours truly is having any serious doubts about the capacity of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), but I must confess the time frame of organizing and knitting together all the practical logistics required for an event of this magnitude is a bit hairy.

This is a regional tournament which will bring together the cream of footballers from the southern region with most of them dreaming of representing their countries in the next edition of the world’s biggest showpiece – the FIFA World Cup finals on home soil – and yet the marketing aspect for this particular tourney clearly suggests football bosses are taking a casual approach.

For starters, charity begins at home and if one hosts such a tournament you would like to leave an everlasting impression – not only on your organizational acumen but on the playing field as well.

And by this I mean Namibia must win the tournament but how on bloody earth can we expect to be triumphant if the hastily-assembled team is not reflective of the country’s geographic demographics.

The National Under-17 team comprises a number of players from clubs in the capital and there were no national trials held as one would have expected, which deprives many aspiring footballers from rural areas the chance to shine on the international arena.

The bulk of the finest footballers in the country’s elite league which forms the spine of the Senior National team hail from outlying areas and the annual Coca Cola Youth Cup has exactly proven that there’s plenty of untapped talent in the rural areas.

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