A Namibian team of 40 athletes returned home with seven medals, consisting of one gold, one silver and five bronze medals, from the 10th All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique in September.
It was Namibia’s best performance at the Games since their debut in 1991, when they won 13 medals, while para-athlete Ananias Shikongo became the first Namibian gold medallist since Frank Fredericks, Harry Simon and Jorg Lindemeier 20 years ago.
Other athletes like Abrahm Louw, Tjipekapora Herunga, Helalia Johannes and Martin Aloysius all excelled to win medals, although there were also disappointments, notably from boxing which failed to win a medal for the first time in 12 years.
But although the Namibian team did well, compared to their performances of the past, we are still lagging behind other countries in the region. South Africa dominated the Games to finish well ahead on the medal standings, while Angola, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Botswana and Seychelles all finished ahead of Namibia.
Sport has become big business and the government will simply have to invest more in our athletes if it hopes to reap the rewards. With the 2012 Olympic Games now less than a year away, our top athletes in Maputo will have to receive specialised training and investment for them to reach their peak in London.
Another major international sporting event, the Rugby World Cup kicked off in New Zealand in September where our national team, the Welwitschias, competed for the fourth time in succession. But any hopes they had of winning their first match at the World Cup were dealt a cruel blow as they suffered comprehensive defeats in all their matches against Fiji, Samoa, Wales and South Africa.
But despite losing all their matches, the Welwitschias played with spirit and determination and caught the imagination of the rugby world with their never-say-die attitude. There were also some unforgettable moments, like Theuns Kotze putting over three drop goals in four minutes against Fiji and Heinz Koll’s great try against Wales that nearly brought the house down.
In the end there is not much one can do, when a largely amateur team has to compete against full time professionals, while Namibia’s lack of international competition was also clearly exposed. Hopefully the International Rugby Board will consider the plight of rugby’s minnows and organise more international test matches and competitions so that Namibia will be better prepared in future.
In boxing news, Namibia’s former world champion Paulus Moses beat Sidney Sequeira of Brazil on points over 10 rounds to remain on course for another world title fight. Moses had to work hard for his victory and the Brazilian had him in trouble a few times in the fight, but his experience and higher work rate pulled him through in the end. However, it was not his best performance, and he will have to improve on that if he hopes to regain the world title again.
In soccer news, a new-look Brave Warriors finally won their first match in the AFCON 2012 qualifying campaign when they beat Gambia 1-0 last month. It was a fine performance by a young team, which holds a lot of promise for the future. But that future will be without coach Brian Isaacs who was later unceremoniously sacked and replaced by national Under 23 coach Bernard Kaanjuka.
Meanwhile the 2011/12 Namibia Premier League got underway last month, with a sponsorship row regarding branding rights dominating the headlines, while on the field of play, defending champions Black Africa, African Stars and Tigers set the early pace.
With the new season having started we once again bring you our popular Player of the Month competition, which this season will be sponsored by FNB. So enter those SMS’ and you could be a lucky winner of some prizes.
Till next time, enjoy the mag.
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