Windhoek — After a terrifying start at the dawn of Namibia's democracy in the early 90's, the game of basketball has now suddenly taken a very sad slippery slope journey, amidst power struggles amongst members within the presiding body - much to the chagrin of athletes.
Basketball is a very popular pastime amongst many students at tertiary institutions across the global landscape and Namibia is no exception.
The University of Namibia (Unam) has taken a leading role with the initial establishment of organised league structures, maximising her state-of-the-art facilities at the campus by hosting various international high-profile competitions.
And while national league activities cruise at a tortoise pace, Unam Lions Basketball Club has put shoulder to the wheel and are determined to take the game to the next level in the highly competitive Khomas Basketball Association League (KBS).
The "Clever Boys" were back in action at their fortress, the Unam Basketball Courts, up against campus bitter rivals Unam Wolves in an exciting semifinal encounter on Friday, which they narrowly lost 93-97.
Despite the vast interest from the student population at the campus - juggling between their academic aspirations and recreation - this particular sporting discipline is financially skating on thin ice because of insufficient funding from all sectors of the mainstream economy.
"As it stands, the volume of participation and overall interest is quite pleasing -we have fairly decent representation from students, but inadequate funding makes it extremely difficult to organise august gatherings and test our real strength against other teams, be it nationally, regionally or internationally," stressed Desiree Job.
In the meantime, a local Pakistani entrepreneur dealing primarily with electronic appliances, animal feed and other agricultural products as well as travel and tourism, who also sells imported health protection clothing, has matched his words with deeds.
Syed Kamram Haider rolled up his sleeves to weigh in by assisting the club with fully-fledged playing gear, including match balls, warm-up burbs and energy drinks during breaks.
Said Haider: "I would like to make a humble appeal to fellow Pakistanis living in Namibia and other foreign investors to come on board and sponsor needy athletes, not only basketball but other sporting disciplines such as football, netball and boxing."
Haider added: "In my native land Pakistan, we have a well-established functional industry that is willing to bring sport investment and various initiatives to Africa, specifically for Namibia."
"In the past, the combined Unam basketball teams used to be very competitive in the biannual Cucsa Multi Sport Games.
"Sadly we have not been able to partake in these tournaments any longer since we are gravely hamstrung by the serial lack of sufficient funding to send teams for participation for a considerable period now."