New Era (Windhoek)

16 November 2012

Namibia: Shooting From the Hip - Expensive Humbug and Race in Netball

opinion

PLEASE pardon my disenchantment with the recently christened Desert Jewels! Yours truly just can't get his finger on the pulse of the All Namibia Netball Association (ANNA) with their habitual and insatiable wanderlust for whom time had done nothing but to reposition the factors of error.

Take the aimless and costly annual international excursions (too much of that) and the truly shoddy team selection policy (repeated too often) and multiply that with the performance of the team and the product is a baffling foolhardiness and a recipe for disaster.

Being a staunch supporter of Namibian netball can in all honesty only be likened to having a close relative in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital. Namibian netball has for years now struggled to get its house in order - resulting in the former continental powerhouse being reduced to a sorry collection of perpetual aspirants, who suffer continuously on the African continent, having been overtaken by minnows Botswana, Tanzania and even Malawi for that matter.

Before and after Independence, Namibia was ranked among the top netball playing nations in the world and was second to South Africa only on the African continent, but incessant internal squabbling has led to the inevitable demise of the ladies' game.

Besides drastic changes in the fragile structures of local netball that saw the self-appointed 'Iron Lady' of domestic netball, one Carol Garoës, being toppled from the pedestal - the serial occurrence of calamities in Namibian netball has left the game comatose, thanks to administrative anaemia, so to speak. Namibian netball has for far too long been peddling mischievous agendas, like some yoga rep hitting the road with a sample bag crammed to the brim with transcendental hogwash and at great expense.

Unless the brakes are applied soon, the ladies' game will soon become a much sought-after delicacy for stray dogs. International tours should not be used as a form of development. This is a misleading exercise since it only benefits a small coterie of athletes.

Furthermore, it goes beyond any comprehension how ANNA always manages to solicit funds for these plum overseas tours, while the poor association can hardly organize a piss-up in a local brewery. The continued absence of proper league and development structures across the length and breadth of the country bears testimony to that. Charity begins at home and as long as we have administrators in place who value overseas tours more than to develop the domestic game - we are facing a potential catastrophe.

What happened to the good old days when netball crazy towns such as Keeetmanshoop, Gobabis, Mariental, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Walvis Bay and Windhoek would take turns to host the popular annual regional tournaments? I'm just asking.

In all honesty, the supposedly strong and highly competitive Khomas Netball League is run like a kindergarten, with matches being postponed at the slightest provocation week in and week out, while teams only pitch up whenever it suits them in the absence of proper sanctions for habitual defaulters.

Defaulters just forfeit points, so anyway, who cares about meaningless points if the league winners are not handsomely rewarded for their troubles at the end of the season.

Is there perhaps any link to the fact that whenever it comes down to touring Africa, as has been evidenced in many sporting disciplines - only the dark hued athletes are readily available for these assignments, while the 'larneys' are comfortably grounded through an assortment of excuses ranging from work commitments to studies.

However, these lame excuses seem to be limited to African tours only, because whenever more desirable or attractive overseas tours come up, Singapore is a case in point - the 'darkies' are usually left behind to make room for their supposedly more illustrious 'larney' team mates. I'm just asking. I rest my case.

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