… Veteran sports administrator urges racism in sport to go the way of the dinosaur
WINDHOEK – Award-winning veteran sports administrator and current CEO of the Namibia Tennis Association Laurie Pieters has strongly urged Namibians not to give racism the pleasure of rearing its ugly head in the local sports fraternity.
Pieters’ timely postulation comes at a time when the local sports fraternity is battling burning issues of lack of transformation and racism, particularly the inclusion of players of colour in the structures of previously white dominated sport.
In an exclusive interview with New Era Sport yesterday, Pieters, who is widely recognised for being at the forefront of the fight against racism in sport while he also successfully headed various transformation programmes, reiterated that Namibians have a very dark history and hence can’t afford to indulge any further in issues of racial segregation.
“I know racism is a very sensitive issue, even I can’t stand racists or talk about racism, but it’s really not fair for a country such as Namibia to struggle with issues of racism after 23 years of independence. I personally believe we Namibians are not racist but it’s just some ignorant individuals trying hard to keep particular sports codes exclusively for certain groups through dubious and racist means, and I say such (action) should strongly be condemned in all possible ways.”
The veteran administrator advised that when undertaking issues of development and transformation, colour should be the last thing on one’s mind because the main focus should be taking the games to the masses, particularly to the less privileged while also striving for the full integration of players and coaches from all spheres of life.
“For example at the tennis association, we have a full representation of players and coaches of all colours but with us colour does not matter because our players are judged on the basis of their performance, ability and the potential to excel when given the opportunity. That’s why I’m calling on all those involved in sport to put development and transformation at the core of their priorities,” concluded Pieters.
The Namibia Tennis Association was bestowed the accolade for the best Sports Development Programme of the Year, while it’s chief administrator Pieters was crowned the best Sports Administrator of the Year, at the recent MTC/Namibia Sports Commission Sports Awards.
By Otniel Hembapu