Grassroots sports is extremely important to any developing sporting nation. It is the foundation for sport prosperity and sport success in any country around the globe. When catered for and delivered well, it creates immense value and develops more talents for the country in all sport codes.
Namibians must recognise that in order to achieve our strategic sport outcomes, more emphasis must be given on the delivery of groundbreaking sports programmes at the junior level. The journey of an athlete begins with school and community participation, progresses through the zonal and district levels onwards to competing at the national and international level.
However, this journey begins from interest in sports, to participation, to potential and then to excellence. In addition, this is usually a long and tough road for many young athletes, hence success rates are very low.
While the sports ministry has to lead the charge, other stakeholders such as corporates, entrepreneurs, national federation, state-level associations, equipment manufacturers, the media and service providers have to come together to develop and promote the foundation of Namibian sport.
The most important action that can be a solution to the struggling sport development in Namibia is to begin with channeling sponsorships equally between professional and grass roots sport development.
Sponsorships should not only be availed to execute projects but should be availed to build facilities. It is pointless funding soccer tournaments that are being played on gravel soccer fields or netball that is being played on the ground.
While on that note, priority should be directed to facility development along with training or coaching projects teaching societies how to maintain and utilise facilities in a sustainable and profitable manner.
*Stefan Ngolo is a sports enthusiast and sports education scholar. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.