Let’s use sports for development

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As is well known by now, Namibia is faced with many socio-economic challenges. The aim of socio-economic development is essentially to take people out of poverty and ensure they live a life filled with dignity. To most human beings a fulfilling life includes the ability to, first and foremost, cater for the basic needs of a human being. These needs are basically food, shelter and clothing. However, numerous data, statistics and just observing the situation around our neighbourhoods show that many Namibians cannot afford these basic needs.

The first challenge in this regard is our school system. On an annual basis we create thousands of school dropouts from either grade 10 or 12. To make matters worse, there is a tendency of discrediting, belittling and undermining the capability of many young people who fail in the education system. I am not certain whether it is the education system that fails them or whether it is they who fail the education system. However, at the end of each year we literally have half of those who wrote grades 10 and 12 on the streets.

Nonetheless, I have a proposition that might just elevate the socio-economic condition of many young people. That is, let us use sports for development. Many young people that drop out of school are considered useless but they surely are useful for other things. One never knows, but maybe those people we write off academically might even be the next Frank Fredericks, Harry Simon, Moses the Hitman, etc. What I am trying to say is that those young people might have the hidden potential to be the next world champions in whatever category.

Sport in Namibia is not taken as seriously as it should be. Mostly people are told that they are wasting their time and should rather be doing more constructive things. It is not that such statements are wrong but we might just press down the rise of a future world star with such statements. An example I want to use is international football. In many European countries young people are encouraged to take both education and sports, in this case, seriously. Such provides potential avenues for future professionalism that we enjoy and admire. In most cases it is even these professional sports people that earn much more money than any lawyers, engineer, doctors, politicians, presidents, teachers and what others obtain from their bosses.

What I want to emphasise is that sport has a great potential to uplift our socio-economic sphere if we just take it seriously. I have no doubt that the talent is there. We are Africans and I can confidently claim that Africans are probably the most talented sports persons on the globe. We should harness this potential and make use of it.

I am happy that the Brave Warriors won the Cosafa Castle Cup and that they have been rewarded for it. It is not many employees that will receive N$50 000 for a job well done. Sport is one avenue that we must use in our development.

Iipumbu Sackaria (in his personal capacity)

Windhoek

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