Despite the importance of sports, it remains an area which is underdeveloped and underfunded, especially in Namibia. In addition, the sport sector has suffered from scandals, corruption and marginalisation.
Today’s weekly takeaway will turn the stones that are/ have hindered sport codes (especially football) in Namibia from developing and taking its rightful place on the national, continental and global map.
Firstly, our country has sports policies but the majority are fragmented and uncoordinated. Moreover, the organisations in charge of sports are often sandwiched in another organisation. The directorate and other departments in charge of sports suffer from underfunding and are unable to support priority activities, let alone establish and enforce policies.
Sports stands for good governance, respect for the rules, fair play, honesty and discipline. However, poor governance is vividly evident in Namibia. Our top football body, the Namibia Football Association (NFA), is suffering from poor governance. Most Namibian football followers are of the opinion that corruption has ruined Namibian football.
There are substantial sums of money coming from various sponsors and Fifa for development projects, which have disappeared into people’s pockets, and most Namibian football facilities are in dreadful condition.
Hence, it is important for all stakeholders to work closely together to eradicate mismanagement and corruption by strengthening and improving national accountability and transparency mechanisms.
Inadequate investment plays a bigger role as well because most of the existing facilities are in a very poor condition and they will need extremely heavy investment to bring them back to good or to presentable standards. The schools within the rural areas have no sports facilities, unlike those in the city and towns.
Government has invested substantial sums of money to build and renovate stadiums, however, the investments have frequently been affected by mismanagement and corruption. When the national team is having a match the stadiums are full and some even watch the match through the fence, unfortunately, no one sees the importance of helping to expand or build bigger sports facilities.
On the other hand, other facilities that cost millions of dollars to build have turned out to be white elephants and no one is doing anything about it because it’s a government property. Namibians need to change their attitude towards sports to ensure that we have realistic and up-to-date policies that are strengthened by strong legal frameworks to combat corruption and mismanagement.
It’s time to recognise and prioritise the very important role that sport plays in the development agenda. There is no doubt that sports could play a critical role in attaining peace, development and stability. Most importantly, one of the areas to which sport can contribute is health.
*Stefan Ngolo is a sports enthusiast and sports education scholar. He can be reached at email@example.com