When my eternal close buddy and former teammate at the “Brave Lions of Judah” (Hungry Lions Football Club) approached me with an idea to host a birthday bash for our ailing former teammate Jackson Kotjiuru Meroro, who turned 60 last month – I immediately bought into the suggestion and proposed to cast the net wide.
We both felt that a once-off birthday party won’t necessarily change the life of the terminally ill former sharpshooter, thus we resolved to invite few retired members from his former team Katutura glamour football African Stars for round table discussions.
It was then suggested that we put up a trust fund that would sustain our ailing brother for an extended period including covering medical expenses and proper nutrition.
Subsequently, a motion was put forward to put shoulder to the wheel by putting together this groundbreaking charitable venture a BIG success. It was resolved to establish sub-committees dealing with logistics.
It’s now an open secret that the Committee decided to host a Fund Raising Campaign for the unwell retired hot footed serial net buster on the 16th of this month, slated for the NFA Technical Centre in Katutura, Windhoek – the same ground where the ailing Jack started honing his football skills as a bare feet skinny lad.
We felt obliged by public interest to invite all stakeholders in the industry, including the Omurari Radio station, a subsidiary arm of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to come on board as broadcast partners.
Apart from live music performance featuring golden oldies band and traditional concert (Oviritje) – the day’s proceedings will be spiced up by exhibition football matches between retired footballers from both Jackson’s former clubs Hungry Lions and African Stars to be preceded by another friendly match between old foes Epukiro Masters and unfashionable but popular Omurari football team.
Sadly, to our utter shock and dismay, the latter (Omurari football team) demanded to be paid a “laughable” amount of appearance fee for this charitable gathering amidst the misplaced assumption that they are big crowd pullers – notwithstanding our humble plea that all proceeds derived from this venture will go to our terminally ill wheelchair-bound former footballer.
As a senior scribe, it has never been my beat to confront fellow pen pushers but alas, we are talking about a noted athlete that has left serious footprints in the annals of domestic football and one of the finest footballers to have ever walked Namibian soil.
It should be noted that the media including broadcasting houses and athletes are walking in tandem and cannot be divorced in any discussion about the overall progress of sport.
Any industry will not exist without products and subsequently consumers. Please note that the media (message carriers) is the industry, athletes are the products and supporters are consumers in this business.
Seriously, in these tough economic challenges, one cannot expect to have your bread buttered on both sides. As it stands, NBC (radio) is a public institution, wholly funded by ratepayers’ hard earned money which simply means, the consumers effectively cough up for your monthly salaries, operational costs and ultimate togetherness.
Surely, putting money ahead of a well meant noble gesture is a grave error of judgement and it’s not going to win you a lot of friends.
In developed nations, broadcasters pay serious money (rights fees) to air live sporting events – not the other way around. HELLO!!! Athletes are the real McCoy of any successful media house or institution, and should be treated with a certain degree of respect. I rest my case.