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Realities of sport after the conference

Tue, 6 May 2014 06:21
by Timoteus Shihepo

Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) recently hosted the much anticipated National Sports Conference, which supposedly included all the right people.
The guest list, I must say was impressive, with the who’s who of local sports, Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Jerry Ekandjo, the executive director for the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) Joseph Diescho, as well as the president of the South African Football Association (Safa) Danny Jordaan, previous chief executive officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
All these respected people shared their knowledge and gave their input at the conference, which aimed at identifying challenges impacting performance and identifying opportunities for growth.
It made all the right noises and then it was gone. But where does this leave Namibian sports?
While many people, especially the organisers, are happy the country managed to host the event successfully, should we really be celebrating at this stage?
Are we going to see our national teams doing well in the next three to five years? I mean, will we see our national rugby team winning its first game at the 2015 World Cup, having participated in four successive events without winning a single game?
Are we ever going to see another version of the 98’ Brave Warriors or will we see the first non-disabled athlete bringing a gold medal from the Olympics for the first time?
All these questions will come back to haunt the 2014 Sports Conference if no changes are seen in local sports, especially success cases.
Ekandjo who officially opened the conference, on behalf of His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba, said the forum was intended to chart the way forward for Namibian sports.
“Thus, the conference provides a platform where sports issues can be discussed frankly and without prejudice. The conference must ensure regional structures, sport federations and umbrella bodies, work closely with schools, universities, the army, the police and the correctional services,” said Ekandjo.
He also said the gathering aimed to promote and support the growth of sport in the country.
“This is also the only way we can ensure Namibia is competitive with the rest of the world.”
The minister spoke of development and the need for smooth transition between the youth ages. Currently, this is not possible in Namibia, because you hardly see any youth facilities.
No one emphasises on sport development and until that is sorted out, winning will be difficult for Namibian athletes.
Let us hope adopted recommendations  will be implemented and contribute to the growth of Namibian sports.
Nevertheless, whatever we do, let’s start creating a winning sporting nation.