Diamonds in the Dirt

THE Namibian Newspaper Cup again showcased that this country is abound with football talent but the means to harvest it is limited.

Many a scout must have been left salivating at the prospect of one or two of the standout youngsters turning out for their club.

While some may eventually make the step up to higher level football, the sad reality is that most of these youngsters will most likely fall by the way side.

The conundrum is the poor grounding these players have.

Apart from lacking some crucial basics of football, which they ought to have mastered by age 16, these players have no access to programmes to help prepare for the expectations and challenges that lie ahead should they choose to pursue football as a career.

The few ‘football academies’ we have in the country are little more than fitness centres, where youngsters spend one or two hours a day kicking a ball around.

In the end, they might improve their technique and be physically ready for the big time, but they will be found socially wanting.

The pressures and demands of life in the spotlight can take a toll on any person and many gifted Namibian footballers never fulfil their potential because they fail to come to terms with their statuses.

There are many factors that lead to a player never living up to his immense talent. Injuries can derail a player’s career, a player’s lifestyle may aersely harm his talents or sometimes a player’s talent is mostly media created hype.

Given that we have no ‘football homes’, these players’ parents, teachers and coaches need to band together and ensure that we do not continue to lose any more of our stars in the making to the vices of society.

The older generation are familiar with the names George Best and Paul Gascoigne. The pair, one an Irishman and the other an Englishman, had something in common – they were both sublimely gifted and renowned alcoholics.

They are arguably the most notable unfulfilled talents in world football history.

One, Best, is now dead because of his addiction, while the other is confined to a rehabilitation centre.

This is a fate that surely none of us want to befall our promising youngsters. Therefore let us all join hands and try to nurture well-rounded and exemplary sport stars.

Source : The Namibian