Kick racism out of sport

 

Let me doff my korrie to England, the implementers of the beautiful game of football for the bold decision its Football Association (FA) took to usher disgraced coach Sam Allardyce through the exit door – just one match into his abruptly abbreviated tenure as England gaffer.

In all honesty, one has to applaud and give the English people a pat on the back when it comes to preserving morals and principles – the English are proven masters of good governance; the Queen’s servants don’t compromise on the slightest violation of ethics.

Former England skipper John Terry was not only stripped of the captain armband but his international football career was also shortened after he racially abused Anton Ferdinand, younger brother and nephew of England internationals Rio and Les Ferdinand.

Former England coach Glen Hoddle was also shown the door for remarks he made on the plight of people living with disabilities.

Former Liverpool short-fused striker Luis Suarez was slapped with suspension and a hefty fine for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, a darkish hide French national, during an English Premiership clash.
Back home, with twenty-six years of democracy, Namibia as a sovereign country still finds itself engulfed in serious allegations of well-orchestrated racism.

In all my years of sports reporting, never have I witnessed such blatant racism in our midst as can be attested by last weekend’s nasty incident during a provincial club rugby match between Wanderers and Northam Platinum Rhinos.

Strangely, both Wanderers and the National Rugby Union – let alone the Namibia Sport Commission – are yet to pronounce themselves on this potentially damaging allegations of racism. It should be customary practice for the presiding sports bodies to launch an investigation after such incident.

Let’s face it, racism is prevalent in many a sporting discipline, notably amongst the predominantly ‘white’ codes – rugby, archery, golf, cricket, hockey, swimming, equestrian sport, jukskei, shooting, cycling, fistball and bowls – the list is endless.

Certain white owned clubs appear to have different sets of rules for their members – one for the elite whites and another set of rules for darkies, primarily used as political pawns.

It’s not surprising to witness an entire representative (Namibia) bowls team consisting of a full quota of members from close family links ranging from husband, spouse, to daughter, son, stepdaughter and all kind of relatives cruising on a fully paid overseas safari under the guise of representing Namibia internationally.

Whenever these discrepancies are pointed out – those at the helm of the fingered parties will define a quick fix solution. They will conveniently rope in members from across the colour line – usually in the shape of drivers or garden attendants drawn from their own companies and institutions to give some sort of colour to the traveling entourage.

Should an athlete of colour invade their misplaced perceived scared (castle) sporting codes and start to excel – larneys would always come up with strict requirements defined to distract the athletes’ attention, subsequently discouraging them to be involved.

If one takes a closer look at archery, one would be tempted to ask pertinent questions as to why the San (Bushman) community are excluded from this particular sporting code, which coincidentally bears close resemblance to their livelihood.

There was a time when a disabled white woman who happened to have massive affection for horse riding roped in a partly disabled young Damara-speaking girl from Okahandja to her stable.

In no time, the young lady mastered the art of horse riding – giving her seasoned competitors a good run for their money, leaving them green with envy (hatred).

A large chunk of the conservative whites did not take kindly to a darkish hide rider invading their sacred domain and resolved to poison the white lady’s horses – leaving seven horses dead. Subsequently, the young rider disappeared from the scene.

Cricket was forced by its own principal sponsor MTC to introduce racial quotas after it emerged that the Union was deliberately excluding black cricketers from international participation.

Cricket bosses unashamedly tried to fast-track the citizenship of two white young cricketers whose parents were ostensibly born in Namibia prior to independence at the expense of indigenous Namibians.

Looking at the sickening figure of rugby players of colour having represented the national senior rugby fifteen since independence reveals shocking statistics. In the past, there have been incidents where lily-white teams left the country for international events while traveling on German passports.

In the event of the NSC’s refusal to grant national colours, the teams would in any case tiptoe to the nearest sports shop, purchase national team attire and leave the country on their own.

As a matter of urgency, sports authorities should set a barometer and appoint people with the appropriate knowledge and expertise to monitor adherence and the successful implementation of these programmes. I rest my case.

Read full story on New Era Newspaper Namibia