Let’s be clear about our sport ambitions
I think it is time the Namibian Government made its position clear in terms of what it wants to achieve when it comes to sport.
The most pertinent questions for me are: Are we just happy to qualify for world events and is that all we strive for? Or do we want to go beyond just being there and actually win some medals?
These questions will go a long way to ensuring the populace does not make unrealistic demands on the athletes as everybody will know what we as a country is striving for.
At the moment there seems to be a disparity in what people are expecting and what the Government terms as acceptable.
This came to light when I spoke to people on the streets of Windhoek and compared that with what the Minister of Sport Kazenambo Kazenambo said during the week.
While the minister reiterated that being at the Olympics is good enough, people on the streets were hoping for medals.
The people who suffer the most in this equation are the athletes, since people are now of the opinion they didn’t train hard enough to win.
But let’s look at one simple example to put the matter into perspective.
Namibia’s amateur boxers had a chance to qualify for the Olympics as early as September last year when the World Boxing Championship was staged in Azerbaijan.
However, no money was availed for this with the result that the boxers only got their chance in April this year.
Had the boxers gone to the World Championships, even if they didn’t qualify then, they would have gotten crucial experience that could have ensured that more than just two boxers went to the London Games.
Going to Azerbaijan would also have improved our chances to win a medal as our boxers would have received a firsthand look at some of the fighters they would meet at the Games.
The fact that none of the boxers went to the World Championships would suggest we have neither the foresight nor the ambition to truly achieve success at the global level.
So unless the Government makes it clear what their ambition is, I guess we’ll meander along until the next Olympics.