Like UNAM’s logo, our country’s nickname should be changed from ‘The land of the Brave’ to ‘The land of the Brave and the Inept’ to cater for our special ability to not get things done.
Last year, a budget was drawn up by the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture for a sport conference that was held in the capital city where the challenges of sport were supposedly put under the microscope with the hope of cutting off the cancer that is eating away at our sport sector. Basically, the sport conference was meant to find out why we are failing at sports and what we can do to not suck (with a few notable exceptions) as much as we have since this country became Namibia.
The progress advanced by the participants of this national sport conference is comparable only to a million sets of nothing. It is not very likely that that this value will change between now and the next time it is decided that there is a need to donate taxpayers’ towards the organization of another national sport conference which will not yield any concrete results. At this point, the national sport conference seems more like a social event where different sport stakeholders come together to catch up; with taxpayers footing the bill.
If we want to look for examples of how the sport conference was, for a lack of a better word, useless, then we don’t need to look further than the Namibian Football Association and its newly elected President. Soccer in Namibia has, for the longest time, been the proverbial spoiled child who gets new running shoes every year but is always the last one to finish the race. Now if the sport conference was successful in mapping out strategies of how we are going to develop sports in the country, then we would not be getting overambitious promises such as those made by the current NFA President saying that we will win the African Cup of Nations.
It seems that the message of building a bridge before you can cross over murky waters got lost somewhere between Safari Court, where the national sport conference was held, and Soccer House in Katutura; assuming of course that it was one of the messages that came from this ‘national sport conference’ of ours. How else can we explain the ambition of winning a continental tournament that we have not qualified for over its last four editions?
If our neighbours to south are unable to produce a team that can win the African Cup of Nations despite the abundance of the resources at their disposal, including a recently crafted MultiChoice Diski Challenge that allows them to develop their young players without sacrificing the careers of the senior guys, then what are we as Namibians going to do to win the African Cup of Nations in the next few years when we have never even gone past the group stage of the competition?.
We can only hope that the next ‘national sport conference’ will bring about better resolutions that will allow our sport leaders to manage their expectations and better understand that assurances of victory mean absolutely nothing when you have not yet put the work in.