I have always said it’s a shame to have an all-national side comprising of one colour from a nation made up of different people of pigmentation.
It has been the agenda of many local sport writers, especially this year, to fight racism in national sport codes. But I still see that the composition of our national under-21 hockey ladies’ team is 99% white!
I have read and heard from many in the different spheres of life that sports do unite nations and truly defeat racial barriers but from what I have observed in a country of just above two million citizens, such outrageous realities are unfortunate, aren’t they?
In all earnest, I am impressed by the U-21 performance at the recently held World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa. Although we failed to book a place, what makes me extremely unhappy is the fact that the national side had no demographic representation of this ‘Land of the Brave’.
You really cannot tell me that there are no black hockey players in the country, or that the ones we have are of substandard quality and thus cannot make the cut in a national team.
As far as that is concerned, it truly sucks, because truth be told, I have come across enough black talented hockey players in my career.
In my eight-year career as a sports reporter, I have known that we have clubs from the University of Namibia (Unam) and the Polytechnic of Namibia (Poly) who, in the past few years, have done tremendously well in our domestic league, yet have never had representation in the national side in question. Why is that?
Unam, to date, has been a formidable side in our local hockey league, yet I think the mere fact that our white compatriots’ children [when finishing their junior or senior schools] are sent to South Africa for further studies, coaches turn their interest to them at the expense of the rest. This my opinion, which I am entitled to.
Well, apart from the two coloureds [male and female], the rest of the technical staff are white. How do you expect fairness, integrity and credibility from such a set-up, especially during national trials?
I am not saying that blacks are free of such practices but, really, we do have junior national football teams where you rarely see a white boy. Mind you, teams from the Namibia Premier League (NPL) [notably SKW and Ramblers] have youth structures where they feature a considerable number of white players, yet one wonders whatever happened to these boys!
The Brave Warriors’ head coaches, from past to present, have done incredibly well with the inclusion of the likes of Arend von Stryk, the Risser brothers and now Manfred Starke, which is a commendable development.
Of course, more needs to be done by the Warriors’ technical committee to seriously execute talent scouting locally and internationally.
Perhaps they are not doing enough as compared to their cricket counterparts who went as far as South Africa where they found two talented young cricketers despite not featuring in the national side in Australia early this year due to lack of national documents.
I hereby beg the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture to advocate for the promulgation of an Act that would demand all local sport codes to have a fair representation, especially in the different national teams.
Hey, almost forgot; congratulations to the Namibia Tennis Association (NTA) for its development programme of introducing the sport to the previously-disadvantaged communities. It is imperative that our young boys and girls are enticed with the sport at a very young age.
I wonder what makes us honestly call ourselves Namibians with all these destructive and anti-nation-building activities still taking place in our sport fraternity!