Watching minnows Zimbabwe on the telly contesting the final of the Netball Diamond Challenge against hosts South Africa’s Spar Proteas in Durban, South Africa left a nub on my ageing throat, or better still, left me green with envy, so to speak.
What really pisses yours truly off to the core was the presence of continental minnows Uganda and Zimbabwe – countries Namibia used to brush aside with relative ease not so long ago – while our girls were left at home kicking their heels in frustration.
I vividly remember when Namibia competed with great aplomb at two separate World Championships in Sidney, New Zealand (1991) and Birmingham, England (1995) respectively. Needless to point out that Namibia was ranked a modest 14th overall in the world and second overall behind global powerhouse South Africa on the African continent.
Unending infights and skewed selection policies have been the main Achilles heel of Netball Namibia over the last couple of years and while netball officials spend more time in boardrooms trying to iron out their differences – we have been overtaken by the likes of Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
Besides the Khomas Central Netball League – netball in other regions is dying a slow death with no proper league structures in place, while the departure of the annual popular National Club Championship has contributed immensely to the denouement of the ladies game.
Wait a minute! Before we start apportioning blame it should be understood that the game of netball in Namibia is widely neglected – with no single principal sponsor on board for the respective leagues.
Official matches are called off at the eleventh hour at the slightest provocation, while statistics show that netball is the only sporting discipline with the most walk-overs recorded, with teams honouring their league fixtures at their own discretion.
My humble advice to those in charge of Netball Namibia (NN) is to organise an indaba with all key stakeholders to map the way forward. Let’s not pretend as if things are going in the right direction while knowing very well that netball is on a slippery slope.
I rest my case.