Killing dreams

20 June 2019 | Opinion

The school sport fraternity has rightfully greeted the news that there will be no government financial assistance when it comes to international participation with a deep sense of shock and outrage.

To say that the hopes of school athletes lie in tatters would be an understatement. Our kids, just like senior athletes, look forward to donning national colours.

A statement released by the sports ministry dated 14 June said there are no funds to implement various international sport programmes planned by the Namibia School Sports Union (NSSU).

The ministry said further that the NSSU should implement school league systems in circuits, clusters constituencies and regions, which have limited or no transport implications, with immediate effect.

“As you are aware, financial constraints have been hampering the implementation of various sport programmes. In recognition of this reality, you are hereby informed that there are no funds available for sporting activities until further notice,” the statement said.

Furthermore, the NSSU has been directed to do away with any trials for the selection of teams.

NSSU national coordinator has highlighted the massive impacts, saying that when they do manage to take the athletes through to senior competitions, “they will be a laughing stock because they are not prepared well at junior level”.

“How will they compete then on international level if they are not exposed well? I don't have a problem with junior athletes competing locally, but at the end of the day, there should be a carrot tangling in front of the athletes so that they can have something to look forward to,” Duiker added.

Sport, and school sport in particular, has often been stepchild or even orphan when it comes to government funding, but yet this new turn of events is shocking indeed. Our children need inspiration and aspiration, and many get this from their exploits on the sports field. Taking away the dream of representing one's county on the international stage is thus cruel indeed. We urge government to reconsider.

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