Netball in dire straits

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My all-time favourite muso, one Steveland Morris – aka Stevie Wonder – is anything but a one-time wonder. The brother is a genius and has produced a number of extraordinary hits. Indeed, yours truly has lost count of how many hits this phenomenal artist has produced in his stellar career.

Sometimes as people we tend to systematically overestimate our knowledge and abilities, but the fundamental question is: how much confidence should we have in our own knowledge and ability?

The over-confidence effect does not only stop at entrepreneurial activities, it seems this scenario has now spiraled down to various sporting disciplines.

In fact, what makes over-confidence so prevalent and its effect is that it’s definitely not driven by incentives; it’s purely raw and innate, so to speak.

It seriously pains me to watch with tears of agony what used to be the pride of our nation, cruising dangerously on a slippery slope journey – with no end in sight.

Truth be told, Namibian netball is doubtlessly in turmoil, and unless the current slump is arrested, what was once one of the most flourishing of sporting disciplines could become a delicacy for stray dogs.

For the umpteenth time in recent years our national Under-21 netball side failed dismally to stamp its authority in a major regional tournament.

Our girls finished bottom of the table in the six nations regional tourney in Botswana last month. To make matters worse, the dismal campaign ended with Namibia recording just a single victory against lowly placed Lesotho during their Botswana safari.

This is a country that was once ranked 14th in world netball and second on the African continent behind elder sister and global powerhouse South Africa.

This is the same country that conquered two World Cups in Sydney, New Zealand and Birmingham, England, respectively, upon Namibia’s ascent to democracy.

Lately Namibia has been shamelessly overtaken by Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Tanzania and the likes – nations that were considered minnows during Namibia’s reign as continental powerhouse a couple of years ago.

Now, the fundamental questions that need to be raised are: where did it go wrong and what measures must be taken to restore this once flourishing sporting discipline?

Dear readers, please pardon my ignorance but if my ageing memory serves me right, netball is classed as an A-Sports code on the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) template.

In all honesty, any A-category sporting discipline finishing with the wooden spoon in a major tourney should be regarded as a catastrophe, a national shame and embarrassment towards the oath of our beloved land of the brave, to say the least.

It would be unfair to castigate those in charge of the ladies’ game. The likes of Rebekka Goagoses-Nekundi (Ou Rebs) Aunt Mali Snyman, Aunt Ricky Fredericks, Joan Smit, Annie Mosiane-Kalamoh, Demu Hipondoka, Anita Ndjaronguru, Emsie Esterhuizen, Ronel Moolman, Isodore Nell and others are doing their level best to keep the ladies’ game afloat, albeit with limited resources.

It’s an open secret that Namibian netball is hopelessly under-funded with no proper league structures in place, aside from the Khomas Region where league activities are played over one round, with teams pitching up for fixtures at their own discretion.

Without beating about the bush, the Achilles heel in domestic netball is the conspicuous absence of properly structured regional leagues. This gravely worrisome scenario places the overall development of the game at a disadvantage, because there is never a national champion.

It’s now incumbent upon the country’s presiding sports body, the NSC, to roll up their sleeves and place a moratorium on underperforming sports codes representing the country at major international competitions until they jack up their act in terms of competitiveness.

Namibian netball is in dire need of a revamp if we are to re-establish ourselves as a major force to be reckoned with in the global village. Big corporate companies, such as Trustco, see it fit to sponsor individual clubs, but are worryingly reluctant to plough their money into the league, a practice that defies logic.

With all due respect, could yours truly be faulted for concluding that the game of netball is suffering because those at the helm were born on the wrong side of the blanket? I’m just asking.

I rest my case.

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