Sport Comment: Adding value to Namibian sport 

Andreas Taapopi. Photo contributed

Having given up on the opportunity to co-host Afcon 2027 with Botswana due to reasons that do not add up, Namibia has missed out on a chance to show it is serious about sport.

Namibia’s commendable performance at the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations would have tied in well with hosting the continent’s best on our shores.

The Brave Warriors are a source of pride and inspiration for the country, making history by winning a match and reaching the knockout stages for the first time.

This achievement has attracted lots of attention to Namibia and the potential of its football, which would have been greatly enhanced by hosting Afcon 2027.

Clearly, the need for improvement to challenge leading nations is not only on the field of play. It is in the boardrooms where Namibia’s weakness lies.

I hope this article reaches the new head of state, the business community and everyone who understands the value of the Namibia we want.

As a sport scholar, I would like us to pay attention to factors that would help to drastically shift the thinking around how sport is viewed and administered in the country.

It is disheartening for our Brave Warriors to keep playing their home matches abroad after they did their part in putting the country on the map.

The Namibian government should urgently and significantly invest in sport infrastructure to provide better opportunities for athletes to develop their skills and prepare for international competitions.

Investing in sport infrastructure is key to unlocking the next level of performance in our many talented athletes.

Our shortcomings at Afcon pointed at the need to prioritise grassroots football programmes to ensure a steady supply of capable players for our national teams.

Increased international exposure, especially friendly matches, would greatly help expose Namibian players to different playing styles and techniques, improving their overall skill level and competitiveness.

Furthermore, specialised coaching development should be encouraged by providing coaches with the necessary resources and training to improve their craft.

Developing a playing philosophy and identity which all organised football structures should be aligned to is paramount.

This should part of our coaches’ and administrators’ training manuals.

By strictly focusing on these areas, Namibia would make strides internationally and potentially achieve greater success in future tournaments.

*Andreas Taapopi is a sport management and policy development scholar and athlete. 

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