Namibian football remains in shambles as no potential sponsor has come on board to sponsor the country’s top league to enable the league to kick off. This follows after MTC recently decided not to renew their contract with the Namibia Premier League that has been operational for the past 14 years. The withdrawal of MTC’s provisional N$ 15 million annually and N$45 million after three years has raised scrutiny on the way forward for Namibian football across the country.
However, The Patriot Sport has established that the move by MTC to withdraw was aimed at pressurising the Government of Namibia to come on board. According to minutes availed to this publication by a reliable source on a Board of Governance (BoG) meeting held on 22 August 2016 (the same day MTC withdrew), league chairman Johnny Doeseb confirmed that at a press conference to be held the same day, MTC was going to make an announcement of their withdrawal of the N$15 million as an idea to create urgency towards verbal agreements from NamBreweries and government. The Minutes also state that MTC approved the ‘presser’ with their stance being that the dates given as deadlines were not met.
Asked to confirm the news, Doeseb distanced himself from the surfaced news saying they will make their minutes available to the public and other media houses available for transparency to avoid wrong and misleading reporting. The chairman could not provide a date to this promise.
“Finding sponsorship is important and not running after lies. Press conference was called as per the agreement and NPL situation is public knowledge. Government situation is also clear and NamBreweries is under no obligation and under no pressure to sponsor the league.
In fact they are the only corporate that came out to try and find the solution for the current situation and we appreciate their noble approach,” said Doeseb. On 27 June this year, MTC and NPL held a joint conference where MTC provisionally committed N$15 million towards the NPL’s new budget. At the same conference, MTC set an ultimatum that the provisional N$15 million was only to be forked out if NPL found additional sponsors that would equally commit to sponsor the remaining N$9 million annually for three years. The provisional commitment from MTC enjoyed set conditions that the public has criticized to be the reason why no sponsor came on board.
The set condition included clauses such as; such a sponsor not be in direct competition with MTC; that the MTC logo take centre stage on all 16 Premier League clubs on the chest, but that MTC is fully in support of co-branding with corporates that make a serious contribution to individual clubs through sponsorship; that the NPL gives MTC written proof that such a sponsor has been secured for the 3-year period and that NPL secures such a sponsor(s) on or before the 31 July 2016. The conditions place MTC in a 85 percent charge of the league.
Efforts from the NPL to acquire the N$9 million included talks from the Namibia Football Association with the Namibia Sport Commission and a presentation with the ministry. The line ministry is said to have sent the proposal to the Finance ministry. The Finance ministry declined on the basis that this item cannot be considered due its timing. The Ministry also insisted that NPL make the submission in consultation with the Namibia Football Association.
“We have deliberately taken a decision not to allow the NPL to commence with the league with the N$15 million that was conditionally committed, because for too long the NPL has not been able to operate optimally when starting the league with such a huge deficit. When that is allowed, the clubs suffer, they cannot pay their players, they cannot cover operational expenses, important activities like the NPL Awards Ceremony cannot take place, and importantly the quality of football suffers, all factors that tarnishes the reputation of the league, its leadership, and importantly the credibility of the NPL brand, and all brands that are associated with it including that of MTC, said Tim Ekandjo at a press conference on 22 August in the capital before officially withdrawing the provisional N$15 million. A source close to the NPL stated that the monies in any event are spent mainly on salaries.
The NPL is said to be a magnet to public scrutiny over the years especially with management issues. An Annual General Meeting that was scheduled to take place tomorrow was indefinitely postponed.
The AGM was going to see the BoG being turned into a consultative forum with meetings scheduled to take place twice a year only, Insiders noted that this was not in favour of the BoG members. The BoG is made up of club heads.
While corporate Namibia has also been silent on saving the sinking football ship, government has also not brought forward any immediate promising commitment. At the conference on 22 August, the chairman confirmed that while they continue to look for sponsors, on 12 September, “we want to start our football.”