• June 7th, 2020

Namibian soccer needs revitalisation

During my student days in New York, I worked with one of Namibia’s children of the storm. His name is Theo-Ben Gurirab (his soul rest in peace). Each time we first met for the day and I asked him, “What is new Comrade?” his response would be: “The way I read the media tells me that the coming two weeks we shall be preoccupied with the business of Israel and Palestine, or … we shall be in Africa for urgent OAU business, given South Africa’s latest moves…” 

The way I read the initial strides of the year 2019 tells me that the next nine months we shall be focused on two issues pertaining to Namibia’s development. These are electioneering politics with all its intra-party and inner-party ramifications and the other will be the politics of Namibia’s football. 

Unfortunately, on both scores we are all in this together and the situation can ill-afford fence-sitters passing as disinterested or as conscientious objectors.

No, this has nothing to do with Chelsea, (leave me alone please). As matters stand, Namibia’s football situation deserves more and perhaps the brief of the recently assembled Normalization Committee should have been broader than just that. After I listened to committee chairperson [Hilda Basson-Namundjebo] on radio my mind dived into introspection. 

Our football has been marked by problems deriving origin from contestations and this has confounded the capacity of our sports leaders to provide vision, direction and program. None of Namibia’s football clubs has the potential to survive for a season without external sponsorships because the leaders are stuck in the culture of living through sponsorships. 
This conundrum has come to paralyse all football, be it junior or senior; professional or otherwise. We face a dead-end situation and creating an atmosphere that is conducive to the holding of elections and electing a new leadership will only bring us back to the same situation of having to continue begging the problem for a solution.

And we may end up humming the lyrics of Quincy Jones’ song, “Just Once”, that in part go like this: “I have done my best but I guess my best was not good enough, here we are back where we were before…”.

The dilemma of Namibia’s football is exacerbated by years of erratic management and flouting regulations, mixed with limited discipline that pervades Namibia’s institutions of service. It has been confounded by lack of resources and perhaps tenuous structures in part as a result of limited vision, limited leadership capacities or all of the above. 

This situation can be addressed if we undertake a long view. This long view must include having to interrogate the extent to which the structures of Namibia’s football leadership configuration are still as relevant as they were when they were first conceptualized years back. 

When leaders are elected to positions they hold, do they get professional orientation to the task at hand or does the assumption persist that after all they are leaders and they must know it all? When staff is recruited to positions of management, do they get orientation to enhance their management capacities or do they get thrown in to sink or swim. 
In the final analysis, are there performance agreements in place to govern the professional relationship between the employer and employee, or does this kick in when it is time to server relations?

What I tabulate above is just a fraction of the challenges that frustrate headway in managing the business of sports in Namibia and unless these are addressed now that we have this window of opportunity brought about by Fifa’s direct involvement, we shall have to bounce back to what Quincy Jones sings in “Just Once”.

In the final analysis, Professor Goran Hyden is right when he says: Turning the despair and pessimism that affect large sectors of the African people into hope and optimism, will require from the planners of African development, to re-inspect the premises upon which they have based their planning to date… no one escapes this challenge: there are no shortcuts to progress”.

New Era Reporter
2019-02-20 09:56:10 | 1 years ago

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