The best and worst in 2021 sport
• By Michael Uugwanga
ONE might say that 2021 is the most memorable year in the country’s sporting history despite the main excuse of shortage of funds towards sport, however that did not stop athletes and teams to achieve greater heights in various codes.
If it was not for the two teenage sensations, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi people around the globe would not know where Namibia is but the two made their own history wherever they went to compete putting the country on the map with their athletic abilities.
Confidente Sport in its last edition for the year will look at sporting achievements, not only from Mboma and Masilingi but also from other athletes and codes that made every Namibian go wild.
It is no secret that Mboma and Masilingi emerged big winners this year, but that is down to the great effort being made by their coach Henk Botha.
Mboma (18) made history by becoming the first Namibian female to win a silver medal in the women’s 200m at the Olympic Games when she scooped the medal, while Masilingi also 18 managed to finish in sixth place at the same Tokyo games.
Besides the Olympic success, Mboma has achieved other accolades, including the 200m success in the diamond league in Brussels in September, and a gold medal in the 200m in Nairobi at the Under-20 World Championships, however due to the testosterone levels controversy, she was unable to compete in her favourite 400m races.
Just like Mboma, Masilingi was also barred from competing in the 400m, but managed to win some medals in top international events, such as two silver medals at the Under-20 Championships in both the 100m and 200m.
Away from the teenagers to the paralympians Ananias Shikongo and Johannes Nambala, who continue to be champions in their own right.
Shikongo and Nambala each won a medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Shikongo won a silver medal in the 400m T11, while Nambala won a bronze in the 400m T13.
There were also some achievements in other codes notably in football, with the Namibian senior women soccer team the Brave Gladiators against all odds reaching the final round qualifier of the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations when they knocked out the 2021 Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) champions, Tanzania.
Namibia will now face former COSAFA champions and 2020 Tokyo Games Olympic appearance country Zambia early next year.
The Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers also serve as qualifiers to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
One team one that cannot be left out is the senior men cricket side for reaching the T20 World Cup. Despite the team not getting to the knockout stage, Namibia won many hearts not only at home but also around the globe.
The senior indoor hockey women continues to make its own history by retaining the Africa Cup when they beat powerhouse South Africa in Durban, which saw the country qualifying to next year’s Indoor World Cup.
The lowest sporting moment according to Confidente Sport is the senior women netball team for failing to win a single cup this year despite playing in three different competitions, first in March in South Africa at the Spar Netball Challenge, in the Debmarine Pent Series at the Patrick Iyambo Netball College and in the Africa Cup Championships, both held in Windhoek.
The re-appointment of Brave Warriors coach Bobby Samaria for a third consecutive year as an interim coach was a disappointment in Namibian football as the association seems to have lost direction.
The NFA transitional league (Namibia Football Premier League) for the 2020/2021 is seemingly facing financial constraints.
The Namibia Football Premier League was established last year in order to replace the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
Another blow to football was when the NFA took money amounting to around N$8 million from women football without authority; and paid towards the Brave Warriors’ expenditures. The amount was earmarked for women football competitions including leagues and school leagues for both senior and junior women teams.