• July 5th, 2020

Urgent transformation needed for entire Namibian sport…old dogs, old tricks

A lot has been said about the Welwitschias’ somewhat lukewarm performance at the Rugby World Cup underway in Japan, where the Namibian amateurs suffered back-to-back defeats in their opening matches against powerhouses Italy and South Africa, respectively.

Our boys played a damn good game against Italy – pushing the “Pizza Boys” to the limit, matching them pound for pound in many aspects of the game. It should be noted that Italy are regular campaigners in the northern hemisphere elite competition, the highly competitive six nation.

In their next match against elder brother and twice World champions the Springboks, we were totally outplayed and outthought and looked like a disorganized flock of sheep.

Three quarter of the tries scored against the Welwitschias arrived in the same fashion. Our boys were found wanting in the lineouts. It goes beyond any comprehension as to why the coaching staff did not adjust their game plan to thwart the danger.

Let me be a bit biased, the referee also made things worse by turning a blind eye to a pair of crystal clear forward passes that unfairly allowed the “Boks” crossing the whitewash without having to shed an ounce of sweat for their undeserved points tally.

Yours truly is not a noted rugby expert but having been following the oval ball game since the good old days of Jan Ellis, Dagga Engelbrecht, Gerhard Mans, Andre Stoop, Chris Senegal, Doug Jeffery, Jerry Catherine, Walter Don, Willem Maritz, Sarel Losper, Shaun McCully, Eden Meyer and many other rugby greats – I’m well placed to analyze and pinpoint schoolboy errors.
Our boys were hopelessly out of place with Plan-B virtually non-existent to neutralise their opponents’ one dimensional strategy. 

Nonetheless, this is a good lesson and reminder that until such time authorities uplift sport from the bottom of their list of priorities – Namibia will remain stuck in the doldrums of international August gatherings for many years to come. 

We need to come up with a comprehensive blueprint for sport, not only rugby but starting with developmental structures in all corners of the country. However, this dream can only be achieved with the long overdue construction of proper sport facilities. 
Helalia, the lone rancher  
There has been a chorus of discontent amongst sport followers on social network about the absence of the Namibian flag during Helalia Johannes’ moment of pride at the world championship where she claimed a bronze medal.

Self-styled sport pundits bombarded the portfolio ministry and the National Sport Commission (NSC) for not being present when the Namibian road queen received her prize on the podium.
Critics even went further wanting to know as to why the madam was allowed to hit the skies on her own without an official from the portfolio ministry.

It should be noted that there’s a clear line of distinction between amateur and professional athletes. Frank Fredericks and Harry Simon were never accompanied by athletic or boxing officials or anybody from government during their illustrious sporting careers.

Helalia has been a lone rancher, competing internationally winning lucrative prizes in the process. Its incumbent upon herself to appoint handlers to take care of basic logistics such as making sure our national flag is readily available at all times when on overseas escapades.

Well, such practice will obviously leave a dent in her pocket - hence her reluctance to drag handlers (coaches, medic & henchmen) along to international races.

In fact, fingers are pointed in the wrong direction, the portfolio ministry and the NSC only deal with certain competitions such as the All Africa, Commonwealth multisport games. The IAAF championship is the baby of Athletic Namibia and the onus was on them to ensure athletes are well taken care off. 
Of course, NSC issued national colours for the athletes’ participation via their respective umbrella bodies, responsible for further logistics. I rest my case.  

Carlos Kambaekwa
2019-10-04 09:11:50 | 9 months ago

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