Before enrolling for my B.Ed honours in Sports Education at the University of Namibia (Unam), some of my relatives didn’t understand where the major would take me, with questions such as how this would lead to a career.
Most of the objection came from a relative who lived in the northern part of Namibia, who was of the opinion that sports itself was just a playtime activity and not something I should concentrate on as a career.
Due to the nature of sports in Namibia, recognising sports as a field of work is something many in Namibia are still not accustomed to. I believe this stems from scenarios of domestic athletes not being well paid and inappropriate or non-existent facilities for sports currently available in Namibia.
These informal settings make it impossible for the various governing bodies in Namibia to develop additional revenue streams for their particular sports, coupled with the fact that the infrastructure lacks the trained staff, structured national competitions and full-scale integration with public and private schools across the nation.
But as a point of reference and on a brighter note, it took several decades for governing bodies in developed nations to formalise their industry. Thus, there is still hope and evident progress of effective commercialisation of the sports industry on the continent. The next Cristiano Ronaldo, Usain Bolt or Mike Tyson could be from Namibia if we persevere.
Modern-day partnerships between businesses and sports entities now see activities such as stadiums bearing the names of companies and sponsorships deals with company logos appearing on athletes’ clothing and equipment, as well as in the actual titles of the events in which they compete.
These activities prompt media companies to pay vast amounts for the right to broadcast sports events, while advertisers pay a premium to promote products during the screening of these events – hence, the cycle continues. If structured and utilised correctly, every domestic league in the continent can surely capitalise on income raised in such a manner to create an effective sports environment that creates employment. As a result, it will lead to positive contribution in helping to increase Namibia’s economic growth, eventually leading to the creation of a professional, formal sports sector.
The notion that sport is merely a playtime activity cannot be taken as a career is a myth and we should break this barrier that is stopping our nation from thriving in the sports industry. We have a sports education honours degree offered at the University of Namibia and a Bachelor’s of Sport Management degree offered at the Namibia University of Science & Technology (NUST). This is a clear sign that a career in sport is equally important as others.
*Stefanus Ngolo is a Sports Development Officer at the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service in the //Kharas region. He can be reached at email@example.com
2020-02-19 09:16:52 | 1 months ago