From the Sidelines

From the Sidelines

THE decision by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) to suspend Namibia from all athletics competitions will be a fatal blow for the country ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and that also goes for other international and regional competitions.

This year, Namibia has seen two major incidents where world sport governing bodies had to intervene because the administrators persistently failed to clean up their domestic mess. First it was football, which saw the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) coming by proposing a ‘road map’ which called for nationwide elections to avert a potentially explosive situation that could cripple the game or ultimately lead to the suspension of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) from the world football governing body.So far so good with football, as elections were held and eventually a new president for the NFA was elected.Football has resumed in the country and this issue has now been put to rest.Thanks to Fifa.Now athletics has taken over the hot seat vacated by football, as the Namibian athletics body is on the brink of being suspended because the leaders in the sport failed to reach consensus on who should lead the code.As background, IAAF says the former leadership of Alpha Kangueehi as president should be restored, otherwise the country could be suspended.The Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) is currently taking care of the administration after some affiliates instituted a vote of no confidence in Kangueehi’s leadership earlier this year.Despite that, Kangueehi insisted that he was still in charge and called on the IAAF to intervene as he realised that the vote of no confidence was the end of him.The point is, irrespective of who is right or wrong, whether rules were followed and the constitution adhered to.Why can’t the leaders resolve domestic issues themselves? Why do we need to go to the extent of calling in the world federations to clean up their act? There is a simple route.The rules are laid down by these world federations and the local bodies have their own constitutions, which they should honour.Why not adhere to that and play the game clean and fair? I know there is much politics in sport (personality clashes), but playing by the rules will make it unnecessary for all these world bodies to have to come and take charge of local affairs, and these threats of suspensions and all that will be eliminated.I agree with Minister of Sport John Mutorwa, who earlier said that the leaders of Athletics Namibia do not even know their own constitution.That is the starting point.By not knowing your constitution, you will run into trouble and cause all kind of unnecessary confusion by taking uninformed decisions.Who suffers when these wrong decisions are taken? The athletes.I am very disappointed by the way in which the issue of athletics was handled in general.Just the fact that it reached the level of the IAAF.It is a shame and really unacceptable for leaders not to be able to resolve their own affairs, simply by playing by the book.In my opinion, it is a waste of time and energy for a person such as the Minister of Sport to be extinguishing fires of internal matters in the administration of a code such as athletics.Sometimes it is necessary to seek advice and guidance on problems from higher authorities, but it is also pointless to do so if the advice given is not taken seriously.In future, it will be ideal for leaders, that is in whatever sport, to act maturely and learn to solve problems in the best possible way they can to avoid external intervention.It is really a waste of time and money if leaders are unable to address issues themselves.One would ask what is the purpose of the executive committee, elected regional chairpersons or the Athletics Council for that matter? The other important aspect is that leaders in sports should also strive to eliminate debates that centre around personalities and instead address the principles of issues on the table.Leaders tend to talk about who is who and if who comes in, what will happen to me.This self-centred mentality is killing sports and it is also important for the administrators not to harbour self-interest which ultimately leaves the real beneficiaries, the athletes, stranded.Leaders in sports should have a common vision to develop and nurture sportsmen and women, resolve problems in their structures as they arise by themselves and be goal-driven, instead of showing off on who they are as individuals.First it was football, which saw the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) coming by proposing a ‘road map’ which called for nationwide elections to avert a potentially explosive situation that could cripple the game or ultimately lead to the suspension of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) from the world football governing body.So far so good with football, as elections were held and eventually a new president for the NFA was elected.Football has resumed in the country and this issue has now been put to rest.Thanks to Fifa.Now athletics has taken over the hot seat vacated by football, as the Namibian athletics body is on the brink of being suspended because the leaders in the sport failed to reach consensus on who should lead the code.As background, IAAF says the former leadership of Alpha Kangueehi as president should be restored, otherwise the country could be suspended.The Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) is currently taking care of the administration after some affiliates instituted a vote of no confidence in Kangueehi’s leadership earlier this year.Despite that, Kangueehi insisted that he was still in charge and called on the IAAF to intervene as he realised that the vote of no confidence was the end of him.The point is, irrespective of who is right or wrong, whether rules were followed and the constitution adhered to.Why can’t the leaders resolve domestic issues themselves? Why do we need to go to the extent of calling in the world federations to clean up their act? There is a simple route.The rules are laid down by these world federations and the local bodies have their own constitutions, which they should honour.Why not adhere to that and play the game clean and fair? I know there is much politics in sport (personality clashes), but playing by the rules will make it unnecessary for all these world bodies to have to come and take charge of local affairs, and these threats of suspensions and all that will be eliminated.I agree with Minister of Sport John Mutorwa, who earlier said that the leaders of Athletics Namibia do not even know their own constitution.That is the starting point.By not knowing your constitution, you will run into trouble and cause all kind of unnecessary confusion by taking uninformed decisions.Who suffers when these wrong decisions are taken? The athletes.I am very disappointed by the way in which the issue of athletics was handled in general.Just the fact that it reached the level of the IAAF.It is a shame and really unacceptable for leaders not to be able to resolve their own affairs, simply by playing by the book.In my opinion, it is a waste of time and energy for a person such as the Minister of Sport to be extinguishing fires of internal matters in the administration of a code such as athletics.Sometimes it is necessary to seek advice and guidance on problems from higher authorities, but it is also pointless to do so if the advice given is not taken seriously.In future, it will be ideal for leaders, that is in whatever sport, to act maturely and learn to solve problems in the best possible way they can to avoid external intervention.It is really a waste of time and money if leaders are unable to address issues themselves.One would ask what is the purpose of the executive committee, elected regional chairpersons or the Athletics Council for that matter? The other important aspect is that leaders in sports should also strive to eliminate debates that centre around personalities and instead address the principles of issues on the table.Leaders tend to talk about who is who and if who comes in, what will happen to me.This se
lf-centred mentality is killing sports and it is also important for the administrators not to harbour self-interest which ultimately leaves the real beneficiaries, the athletes, stranded.Leaders in sports should have a common vision to develop and nurture sportsmen and women, resolve problems in their structures as they arise by themselves and be goal-driven, instead of showing off on who they are as individuals.

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