Support our athletes: KKBy: HELGE SCHUTZ
MINISTER of Sport Kazenambo Kazenambo says Namibians should be more supportive towards the country’s Olympic athletes instead of being overly critical of their performances.
Speaking on Saturday at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London where Gaby Ahrens came last in the Women’s Olympic Trap qualification round, Kazenambo said that Namibia should learn from the Games.
“I know that we are here for business, we are here to compete. Our overall expectation is to compete and win and go back home with a medal. But the best way to encourage a person to achieve something in life is not to beat a drum, saying ‘win, win, win’ the whole time, the best way of building a psychology to win is to gain and to improve. But sometimes, to improve in a competition of this magnitude, I don’t think that mounting a lot of pressure is always right,” said the minister.
Apart from Helalia Johannes’s 12th place finish in Sunday’s marathon, Namibia’s athletes have made little headway at the Games.
But that is beside the point, says Kazenambo.
“I’m here to render support and encouragement, I’m a parent of these kids. Although I would like my children to win, as a parent, I should sit and observe them and reflect, what are those things that are making the other children successful – this should be my focus,” he said.
Kazenambo appealed to a nation notorious for having little faith in their own to rally behind the athletes.
“The fact that Namibia’s sportsmen and women have made it to the Olympic Games, while many other nations have not even qualified, for me that’s an achievement and I congratulate Namibia for being here. But that does not make me complacent and there are issues that we need to address. But mounting this pressure on these sportsmen and women of Namibia will be unfair, as a policy-maker, as a lawmaker, and considering a number of factors it will be unfair,” Kazenambo said.
“But yes, let’s go there to win, we are from the Land of the Brave, where they are expecting us to win and we should win, but if we don’t make it, it’s just part of the competition. The best winning method is to learn the strategies and tactics of those who are winning. We are competing with bigger nations here, we are competing with the best in the world,” he added.
Kazenambo said those who criticise should ask what their contribution had been.
“Before I blame another person I always take a self introspection and ask myself what contribution did I make, what has been Government’s contribution? Government contributed to bring the athletes here, but how is the private sector participating in Namibia and how is the Namibian society in general contributing to this team? You who are apportioning blame, what are you contributing? Is your contribution just to apportion blame or what is your contribution in a positive way?” he asked.
“Someone like Gaby was competing against First World countries like Britain, Japan and the USA, and we should celebrate the fact that the Land of the Brave is in the top league in the world,” he added.
Kazenambo congratulated the Namibian athletes for having put their country on the map.
“When I saw Tjipe Herunga competing here, my tears were running, and we are running here because of the passion and determination that she has shown.
I’m a fighter by nature and I know what it takes to fight. It’s not easy, people will accuse you of certain mistakes and so on, but those of us who know it, to have that guts, to walk in that crowd and still she made it, that is praiseworthy,” he said.
“It’s not easy, it’s a different environment and Gaby and Tjipe were both competing in the rain, so there are a number of issues to take into account. We should congratulate ourselves although we should not celebrate a loss, but it’s a mixed bag.
Let us celebrate the fact that the Land of the Brave is in the same league as big economies and empires with big budgets behind them. We must have a psychology of winning rather than a psychology of crying and not doing anything.
Let’s encourage ourselves by celebrating our achievements by being here,” he concluded.