• July 9th, 2020

Opinion: A perfect point of departure for Cricket Namibia

Being one of the ardent advocates for racial transformation in local sports, I was this week delighted and equally pleased beyond measure to hear that local cricket presiding body Cricket Namibia (CN) has embarked on a transformational journey that will finally see it take cricket to public schools and eventually the masses.

This week, CN announced that as part of their new strategic plan to revamp and uplift the game of cricket countrywide, especially at school level, it will be donating portable pitches and other relevant cricket equipment to public schools, as part of their efforts to decentralise the sport.

As a starting point, CN partnered with Pionierspark Primary School which became the first recipient of modern portable pitches that will accord the school’s learners an opportunity to gain much-needed exposure and to finally play the game many of them only dream of pursuing.

Newly appointed CN chief executive officer Johan Muller indicated that the move is aimed at increasing participation through the provision of a conducive player surface. “We believe that this will improve the quality of the cricket played. CN will educate the teachers on how to coach cricket as the quality of coaching does have a direct impact on the progress and development of players.” 

Muller also indicated that they are planning to visit various schools and clubs and that both the men and women national cricket teams will be part of the roadshow and this venture will include conducting coaching courses, coaching clinics and FNB Kwata programmes. 

The aim is to increase team and player participation in official leagues, participate in FNB mini-cricket events and develop the teachers’ knowledge and skills by attending coaching courses and workshops annually.

All these initiatives and plans by CN, as comprehensively outlined above, are indeed commendable and should have been implemented a long time ago but as they say, it’s better late than never. At this interval, I implore CN to double their efforts in that regard and continue with this great initiative that will be of great importance to the Namibian child and to our future stars that are yet to be discovered somewhere in the nook and cranny of the country.

I personally commend Muller and team, and I hope this is a genuine course for development through transformation and not a ploy to cut off the noise from the media and other sport activists who have persistently been advocating for racial transformation in local sports, irrespective of what code it is.
In Namibia, just as is with neighbours South Africa, the movement to develop non-white athletes in traditionally white sports has become to be known as transformation. The topic of transformation has catapulted into the public consciousness and this publication has been at the forefront of pushing this very noble agenda.

Dispute the great efforts and development currently being witnessed at CN, I have to admit that achieving all transformational targets will not be an overnight success story and thus continuous financial and material assistance from government through the sport and education ministries will be needed in order for CN and the Namibian child to win.

CN will be faced with a difficult task of changing the culture and perception of learners at public schools as it goes about its outreach development programmes, especially how they perceive the sport of cricket and why they should believe that they too can excel at it just like their white counterparts.

Most public schools were built during the apartheid era, during a time when the curriculum for black students did not really make much provision for any physical education activities for the black child and that resulted in these schools being left behind in terms of infrastructures and the kinds of limited sports they offered learners.

The current infrastructure, especially in most rural schools where the masses of our learners are, do not allow for the inclusion of cricket fields within these schools and I therefore say the idea of portable pitches is a great one and one that will serve as a perfect springboard for would-be cricketers.

As for the few black cricketers that we currently see in our various national teams, these are players who went to private schools and subsequently to private academies with top facilities and plenty of opportunities to nurture their talents. So they didn’t really struggle that much, when compared to a kid in a public school with no cricket facilities and no conducive environment to nourish their talents. 

And while questions over black players’ placement in the various national teams will continue for as long as transformation targets are not satisfactorily met, it is also important that those few black players that get an opportunity to play at the elite level justify their presence with good performances whenever they get the chance to play. 

So, to CN, keep up the good work that you have just started and I hope it marks the beginning of many more such genuine and noble initiatives. Until next time, sharp sharp!!! 

Otniel Hembapu
2019-11-08 10:47:26 | 8 months ago

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