Yours truly was fortunate or rather privileged to attend the Ministers Meeting at the 5th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS V) in the Germany capital, Berlin, in 2013.
The gathering resolved to recognise the potential of sport to contribute towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, sustainable development and peace. Mindful of the international human rights instruments, including the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, one is obliged to conclude that the Namibian government is discriminating against sports.
Government has a moral duty to recognise the unique potential of sport to foster social inclusion while stressing the importance of prevention and awareness raising in safeguarding the intrinsic values of sport and fostering its socio-economic benefits.
Its incumbent upon authorities to underline the crucial role of continued quality education and training for physical education and sports teachers and coaches in all schools across the board.
Namibia, as an emerging nation, needs to narrow the gulf between physical education and sport policy commitments and subsequent implementation, so to speak. It is about time for those pulling our purse strings to smell the Java and put their ducks in the row.
These blokes should, without further delay, start to recognise/acknowledge the diversity of priorities and objectives that determine the allocation of resources to physical education and various sports programmes by governments.
It should be noted that the long overdue introduction of physical education in schools and all other education institutions is the most effective means of providing all children and youth with necessary skills, attitudes, values, knowledge and above all, the understanding for lifelong participation in society.
We need to underline traditional sports and games as part of intangible heritage and as an expression of the cultural diversity of our societies.
It has become a norm, a nauseating one for that matter, in Namibian sports that whenever our athletes perform beyond expectation at august international gatherings, high profile officials jostle for attention to congratulate our returning sporting heroes notwithstanding that these athletes are usually left to fend for themselves august.
Truth be told, yours truly is cognisant of the financial challenges the country faces, but alas, sports is an important organ of any progressing nation and needs to be treated as such – FULL STOP!!!
Until such time those entrusted to pilot the ship start recognising the growing importance of the sporting industry and its role in economic development, Namibian sport will remain a delicacy for stray dogs.
Without an iota of doubt, sufficient funding of physical education and sport programmes is a safe investment that will ultimately result in positive socio-economic outcomes.
There is an urgent need to design sustainable sport programmes cautiously in order to achieve the desired outcomes and to avoid poor quality sports programmes harming rather than benefiting participants.
As it stands, without the required financial muscle and political engagement, it will take us another decade to produce gold medallists at major sporting events following the heroics of junior lightweight amateur boxer Jonas Junias Jonas and ageing long-distance queen Helalia Johannes (37).
I rest my case.