By Carlos Kambaekwa
The National Sports Commission has rubbished recent reports implying that the country’s supreme sports body played a hand in the debacle that led to the dishing out of national colours to foreign nationals.
Speaking to New Era Sport in an exclusive interview earlier this week, the head of Finance and Administration of the National Sports Commission Walter Haseb threw the cat amongst the pigeons and lashed out at what he termed the ignorance and flagrant disregard for rules by some of the country’s leading sporting disciplines.
The sport administrator cited the case of the National Rugby Union after the embattled Union took it upon itself to award national colours to players and some of its technical staff that were of foreign origin, without seeking permission from the Commission prior to the Welwitchias’ participation in last year’s marathon World Cup finals in France.
Football did not escape the wrath of the clearly irritated Haseb either, who accused the directorate of trying to pass the buck while it should have stopped at Soccer House in the aftermath of the fiasco that left newly-appointed Brave Warriors coach Arie Schans with a red face.
Schans was stripped of his blazer that was emblazoned with the eagle, the symbol of Namibia’s national emblem, barely 24 hours after the Dutch national was paraded in the flashy black blazer with a matching tie that was wrongly handed to him at a glittering ceremony in Windhoek ahead of the Warriors’ departure to Ghana for the 26th edition of the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations finals.
“The NFA never applied for national colours from the Commission as is customary practice, and instead went to sports outlets where they ordered their attire embroiled with the national emblem without approval from the relevant authorities, while the kit suppliers also erred by not verifying the list of participants with us beforehand,” charged Haseb.
However, Haseb said the Association had since forwarded a formal application upon their return from the West African country and extended an apology to the Commission for the mishap.
Haseb said national colours must be certified and handed over by the Commissioner entrusted with that particular sport code. He however added that the days are gone when tracksuits or any other items bearing the eagle emblem would be worn by every Dick, Tom and Harry, let alone newspaper vendors.
“We’ve noticed a nasty trend amongst some of our athletes who appear to be showing little regard, if any, for national colours as they just pass them on like caddies to friends and relatives upon their return from international events,” fumed Haseb.
This exercise is against the law and transgressors will be prosecuted in future and could be jailed for up to seven months or compelled to cough up fines ranging from N$2 000 to N$7 000 if found guilty of having defaced national colours.
“Sports administrators and officials must draw a distinction between the national emblem and Association logos, because they are obliged to have the national emblem printed on their jerseys whenever representing the country at international events,” warned Haseb.
He urged national sports associations and umbrella bodies to observe protocol at all times when it comes to the procedure for the application of hosting international events or participation thereof.
Meanwhile, the National Sports Commission held a successful retreat at the Thuringerhof Hotel in Windhoek last weekend where it discussed, amongst others, the legal aspects of the State Finance Act and interpretation of the Namibian Sport Act of 2003.
The Capacity Building Workshop, the first of its kind by the Commission, was attended by a significant number of sports executives and several athletes with all participants in unity that shoddy procedures in handing over the reins to incoming executives was the chief culprit hampering progress in almost all sport codes.
The workshop also called for sport codes to submit their audited financial statements in time and expressed concern over the tortoise-pace manner in which sport codes have been going about their business with some of them even taking up to 3 to 5 years before submitting their audited financial statements.
Furthermore, all sports bodies and associations are reminded of their obligation to furnish the Commission with detailed post-match reports after participation or the hosting of international events as stipulated in the Namibian Sport Act.
In an effort to streamline operations, a seven-member Sports Commission Council Committee has been established to advise the country’s governing sport body on policy issues.