State of sports facilities is worrisome

20 September 2021 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI

Namibia is a country of really funny utterances by politicians at times. Imagine a sports minister saying that they were not aware of the deplorable state of a stadium.

Imagine the same minister announcing a clean-up day for that particular stadium, as though maintenance people are not employed to care for that. Is this a one-off clean-up campaign, or is the minister going to do the rounds all over the country, cleaning up stadiums monthly, one might ask.

I’m really disappointed. Whether the act was done in good faith or not, we don’t seem to have a direction as to what we should be doing and when we should be doing it and it is pretty embarrassing.

I really think that we need to figure out ways to be proactive and to develop characteristics of futurism. We need to accelerate the development and infrastructure of our sports facilities and we need the right people to lead this development process. Think tanks, I would like to call them.

Yes, African sports facilities were built during the decolonisation period. But major sporting events are growing rapidly in Namibia, and we need to keep up with the times, and by this I mean we need to think of multipurpose facilities hosting gyms, shopping centres, the works.

We are singing development so much, but we don’t make an effort to change what we can. Perhaps I don’t understand the dynamics of leadership, really perhaps I don’t understand the capacity, influence or power a particular minister or leadership might have to instigate change.

But I think this is the right time for us as Namibians to sell sports to foreign investors because Namibian athletes have been doing exceptionally well internationally.

We want sport to fully play its role as an economic, social and urban catalyst, and because of this, it is essential to think about ways on revamping facilities and the long-term sustainability of facilities.

Sport arenas should be buzzing with youth. It shouldn’t look like a cemetery. Sport should be part of the development strategies of Namibia. Yes, Namibian athletes are shining on the track lately. But I doubt that the likes of Christine Mboma or Beatrice Masilingi would want to run on the track at Independence Stadium. Not even to shoot an advert or a promotion video.

The facility is an utter disappointment. So is the Sam Nujoma Stadium. Let’s not even speak about the Khomasdal Stadium or the Katutura Youth Complex, both of which currently host a group of homeless people who have at some point decided to grow small vegetable gardens on the field. I heard that some of these homeless people even had livestock at one of the stadiums at some point.

If you have been to the Katutura Youth Complex you would know that it houses the MTC Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing Academy. This academy has produced top boxers over the years. But the surrounds of these particular gym are an eyesore. You will turn blind. Very unattractive indeed. The same with the Basketball Art School. Children actually go to train there; the surrounds look like criminals harbour there. Not safe, I must say.

The leadership in charge really needs to urgently review sports infrastructure. Because if we are not careful, we will end up playing international matches at Windhoek Gymnasium. Go and see their sports facilities, my people.

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