Congratulations NFA, but…

24 October 2014

Kudos to the Namibian Government, the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and their sponsors for hosting a successful TN Mobile CAF African Women Championship that ends this Saturday.

The hosting of the tournament has put Namibia on the proverbial map, and very few people can still claim that they have never heard of a country called Namibia.

The NFA and the Government have received praise from CAF for the way that the tournament has been organised.  From the stadiums, to accommodation as well as logistics, we have been superb.

We have proved to the rest of the continent that we are not just a small nation of 2.1 million people; we have proved that given a chance we can actually hold our own in terms of organising a big African tournament.

The Brave Gladiators could not negotiate their way past the first round after defeats to powerhouses Nigeria and Ivory Coast, which was a pity. No one in their right mind would accuse our girls of not giving their all in all the matches that they played.

Despite their shortcomings, we will remember the Brave Gladiators’ class of 2014 as well as the organisers of the tournament, for the beautiful sight and sounds that they gave us. It was good while it lasted.

No one can begrudge the NFA for being ambitious and wanting to host other bigger tournaments after the way they organised this women tournament.

Few people had given the tournament much thought before it began, but once the tournament exploded into life, it captured the imagination of Namibians especially those in Windhoek.

Those that attended some of the games, particularly those featuring the Namibian national women’s football team will agree that the tournament gave value for money.

But while the NFA basks in the glory of hosting a successful tournament, it should be noted that the spectator apathy in the other games that did not feature the Brave Gladiators left a question mark on Namibia’s ability to successfully host a bigger tournament like the African Cup of Nations.

The empty stadia were again a painful reminder how Namibians view sports in general. We don’t seem to take sports seriously in this country, and this is evidenced in the way sport is funded.

Perhaps the City of Windhoek in conjunction with the NFA could have provided free buses for people in the informal settlements to go and watch matches at the Independence Stadium.

The meagre funds directed towards sports development in this country mean that very few people will take up sport as a profession. It’s almost as if Government funds sport as an afterthought.

Sport, especially football, has the power to unite a nation, and this was evident in the large numbers that came to watch all the matches involving Namibia.

Tomorrow the two-week tournament ends. Let’s all go and watch the third place play-offs and the finals that will be played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium. Let’s give Africa something to remember about us. Come on Namibia!!!



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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