By Otniel Hambapu
Moving away from the usual sport pep talk, I want to move a bit further and look at ways how the country’s future economic activities will play a part in rescuing or degrading our sport fraternity.
It is no longer a secret that Namibia – and by extension most countries in the world – is not doing so well economically. President Hage Geingob has in recent times urged Namibians to tighten their belts and brace themselves for a rough ride in the form of deep budget cuts on almost all governments agencies and enterprises.
The spillover effect of those cuts were equally felt in the sporting fraternity, particularly in football circles, which eventually lead to the dormancy of the Namibia Premier League (NPL), yet with government slowly but surely showing signs of recovery in various spheres of the economy, I would like to believe that should give us all hope that come next year normal football activities will resume.
As we speak, government is the only realistic source of hope for the NPL and should government manage to refill its coffers on time come early next year, I see no reason why the league should not kick off – that’s if government’s pledge to fund the NPL next year is anything to go by.
Should government come on board next year, I hope it will be the beginning of a new page; one that will see our government change its attitude and mindset towards sport. What I have always said is that even if economic growth helps generate the resources to underpin the development of the sport sector in Namibia, our mindset and attitude toward sport will remain a challenge.
Namibia, like many other African countries, faces serious socio-economic challenges that would appear to be more pressing than sport, but countries such as China and Qatar see sport as a means to address a range of socio-economic issues and that is the road we need to explore.
Africa is heading towards a crossroads: the continent has emerging economic powers able to perform on an international sporting stage, but lacks the needed sport industry infrastructure of organisations and businesses that can lead the change.
Until next time, sharp, sharp!