Sport transformation crucial

02 May 2019 | Opinion

Our society in Namibia remains an unequal one, with high levels of poverty and inequality still prevalent, despite 29 years of independence. It is a disturbing reality for a nation of less than 2.6 million people and one endowed with abundant mineral resources.

There is no doubt that a radical shift in policy is needed to transform our economy for the type of growth that leads to poverty alleviation. The lack of transformation is also a topical issue that Namibian sport has been grappling with for years. Although not widely discussed and debated, we feel the time is ripe for an honest talk on the issue.

The Namibia Sport Commission has already indicated that it is considering introducing quotas or withholding national colours to force federations to promote inclusivity.

Some federations have for years been accused of overlooking black players in their selections, while in some quarters, despite players of colour being selected, they hardly get the necessary game time. We have also seen how corporate Namibia is turns its back on sport codes that are not popular with certain races.

The reality on the ground is that sport, despite sport being a pivotal factor to uniting Namibians, has not been transformed to a level where it is supposed to be – whether it is in football, rugby, cricket or athletics.

The sport commission and critical stakeholders such as the Namibia Schools Sport Union (NSSU), should therefore put forward a comprehensive road map that places a huge premium not only on elite sport levels, but one that ensures there is tangible transformation taking place at development and grassroots level.

We can no longer pussyfoot around the issue of sport transformation and the time has come to tackle the obstacles, including proper funding that has still seen our local sport trapped in victimhood.

Politicising the issue won't help either. It is the wisdom of leaders and key stakeholders at different levels that will be the game changer.

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