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My candid view - Magnum opus Cricket Namibia!

2020-08-14  Otniel Hembapu

My candid view - Magnum opus Cricket Namibia!

I have always maintained, and never have I ever shied away from making clear my stance on the transformation and development of the local sports sector. 
Over the years, myself and many other fellow uncompromising sport scribes, had to brutally lock horns and at times not see eye-to-eye with sport administrators over disagreements pertaining to the thorny issue of transformation in sports.
The battleground for this heated issue of racial and social transformation in sport has mostly been on the turfs of previously “whites-only” sport codes, and cricket has been one such code I constantly had to pick a bone with.

But I must admit and take my hat off to the new leadership at Cricket Namibia (CN) for restoring hope and for understanding that our call for genuine transformation has always been premised on national unity, equally and creating a Namibia where all our kids will be accorded the same opportunities to thrive, irrespective of their racial, social or religious standing in society.
Regrettably, the previous leaderships at CN all made the same grave mistake of thinking that they would create their own little heaven on earth for a few kids in the leafy suburbs of Windhoek, while leaving out the disadvantaged majority to fend for themselves in the dusty streets of Katutura and other informal settlements scattered across Namibia. 

Unfortunately, that misplaced school of thought has miserably failed and backfired on the very architects of the rogue system. The indications that local sport was in a serious crisis and sitting on a ticking time bomb were always there for all to see, but some self-styled sport administrators chose to ignore the signs and calls from the pleading majority.
History has taught us all a great lesson that unshared prosperity is not sustainable, because eventually the deprived majority will forcefully grab a seat at the dining table. 

But worth mentioning, the vision and roadmap the new leadership at CN has taken is worth emulating and applauding. I personally have to mention CN’s new chief executive officer Johan Muller, he has demonstrated to all Namibians that it is doable and that transformative development is very much attainable in our sporting lifetime.
Muller and his team have shown all and sundry that the old excuses of lack of funding and inadequate facilities to enable much-needed development is no longer valid. In fact what Muller and his team are showing us is that the magic actually lays in the ability to use the same dollar twice and having the boldness to trail untested waters to achieve our goals.
Under Muller’s visionary leadership, and just within a short space of time, CN became the envy of the region (SADC) and that marked the reawakening of Namibian cricket, for all Namibians. 

They have since went on to initiate and launch various development platforms such as the national APS Sixes tournament, which aims to introduce hardball cricket to the country’s under/10s and 11s and also creates a platform for a girls-only team. This competition will be played on a national level to expose and give opportunities to other cricket playing towns. CN have in the past few months also created many other developmental arenas for boys, girls and women to thrive, such as Ashburton cricket, which offers young boys and girls in grade 1-4 the opportunity to be exposed to the game in a fun and harmless environment. 

Ashburton cricket can be played on any reasonable level surface; no prescribed field is needed, which means Ashburton cricket can be easily introduced into any community. All these platforms are aimed at diversifying and creating opportunities for cricket to be played in different formats, structures, and leagues to accommodate every Namibian youth. 
Just recently, the country’s beloved Eagles’ team scooped the prestigious ICC Associate Member Performance of the Year accolade. All that points to the new direction Muller and his team wants us to go, that is a direction of wholesale inclusivity and shared prosperity for all Namibia’s youth, irrespective of where you come from. 

To my good brother Muller, the Namibia you are creating through cricket is the Namibia we all envision and one that we have all been advocating for. An inclusive and culturally intact Namibia. I hope this is just the beginning of many more genuine and noble initiatives. Until next time, sharp sharp!!

2020-08-14  Otniel Hembapu

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