Watching Mbabane Swallows from tiny Swaziland competing fiercely and unhindered in Africa’s football showpiece, the continental CAF Club Champions League, made me sit and eat humble pie with piles of blind ideas going through my mind.
Those who have been constantly crying loudly that Namibian sports is hopelessly under funded have a strong case and this is why:
As much as one take cognisance of the country’s current economic struggles, Yours Truly cannot put a finger on the pulse as to how on bloody earth countries with fairly limited national resources such as Swaziland, Tanzania, Rwanda, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Angola Madagascar and Mozambique can effortlessly afford to enter teams in the continental football showpiece.
In all honesty, Namibia has more than enough resources to pump money into the development of sport. It is now an open secret that sport has been systematically placed right at the bottom of our government’s list of priorities but this attitude could have far reaching repercussions if not arrested.
Let us take a look at Botswana, their football clubs are regular campaigners in CAF competitions and they are certainly reaping the fruits.
The Zebras’ participation in continental competitions is certainly trickling down to the national team, if their performance at international level is anything to go by.
Yours Truly has been following with keen interest recent debates on social media as to whether newly crowned MTC Premiership champions African Stars Football Club will part take in the prestigious CAF Club Champions League.
For starters, participating in continental competitions is a tall order given the chaotic marathon traveling schedules because of the absence of direct flights to one’s intended destination.
At many times, teams are obliged to travel via Dubai and Paris to honour their continental commitments in some African countries. This is a costly exercise for the already financially stretched clubs.
Now take a thorough look at overall first prize (money) for winning the coveted MTC Premiership title N$1-million, to be precise. In order to encourage their players, clubs sign performance base contracts with the playing personnel and should the team win silverware, the prize money is divided pro-rata with players including the technical stuff.
This literally leaves the clubs with nothing in the kitty. Until such time authorities avail big money to sport, local athletes and clubs alike will continue to live in the shadow of their counterparts, simple as that!!.
Bobby, a chip of the old block
A colleague of mine wanted to know from me whether African Stars’ multiple title winning coach Bobby Samaria has played his club football beyond Namibian borders.
Well, there was no need to ask him why, because I knew there and then, the young man was in awe of the Little Corporal’s pedigree.
In my honest opinion, the pair of Bobby and Congo “Jakkals” Hindjou were complete footballers in their own rights, way ahead of time and could have easily played anywhere in the world, had lady luck smiled on them.
Both were blessed with natural talent, played simple direct football, great passers of the ball and possessed vision second to none. The brother also wanted to know from me as how a former goalkeeper could become a successful football coach, in reference to the “Magnet”.
To be quite honest, Yours Truly is not surprised by bro Roke’s phenomenal football philosophy. People must keep in mind that Ronnie spent a considerable period with African giants Mamelodi Sundowns, mentored by top class coaches. I rest my case.