Thursday 6 May 2021
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NAFPU calls for Rukoro and Ekandjo removal

Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU) Secretary General Olsen Kahiriri called for the removal of Namibia Football Association (NFA) Secretary General Barry Rukoro to leave football and Youth, Sports and Social Service Minister Jerry Ekandjo to be relieved from duty and be replaced by persons with sports at heart.  Kahiriri said this at a poorly attended march by the football union escorted by a handful of players and fans at the NFA yesterday. The march comes in the wake of a series of boardroom fights and the lack of sponsorship in the game of the people. In a petition authored by the union on behalf of the football players NAFPU said the minister has duly failed to secure sufficient finance from the State coffers for sports and has zilch interest in sports at large. “The Minister (Ekandjo) is a feebler, with no understanding of sports probably because he never participated in sports at a young age of has no background in sports,” read the petition. NAFPU thus demands that the minister, within 30 days resubmit to cabinet a request for additional funding for the sport ministry. Among other demands, NAFPU also demands that Ekandjo appoints a technical committee to kick start amendments of the Sport Act.
“Failure to achieve the above, we demand that the Minister resigns voluntarily from his position or that our sports loving President relieve him from his duties and appoint a young dynamic sport minister. We want a minister who will be running next to a player and not a minister who will be running to his grave,” said Kahiriri adding that he should take it as a warning and not a threat.  Addressing NFA, ‘the bone of contention’ as Kahiriri termed it, NAFPU also called on NFA President Frans Mbidi and his entire Executive Committee to relieve Rukoro and find a replacement who will act in the best interest of the association, footballers and fans.
In addition to enquiries on Rukoro’s reported incompetence within the football association, NAFPU demands for a lifestyle audit of NFA employees to assess how they acquire assets, while also demanding for the scrutiny of the employment contract of Rukoro from the day he started working to date at the NFA.  “We demand that the NFA exco urgently process a vote of no confidence in Rukoro for maladministration.” In reference to the recent growing interests of NFA to run the Namibia Premier League, NAFPU petitioned that they agree with the association to distance itself from the administration of the league.  “We demand that the NFA refrain from interfering in the contractual relationship between NPL and NFA as well as other potential sponsors. Just stay away just like you did when there was no sponsors.” The petition also reads that the criticised Debmarine NFA Cup be put on hold and the NPL should kick-off within 30 days from May 11.
The petition also lambasted Namibia Sports Commission saying that they too have failed on numerous occasions to intervene in the conduct of the NFA, even after multiple complaints from the union.  “The Commission has at all times failed to reprimand the association cahoots of thugs just like their mafia masters who were once arrested while at a FIFA meeting in Switzerland,” read the petition.  The union’s Secretary General did not leave out the urgent need to respect and recognise players saying they too have bills to pay. They called on the establishment of the Players Status Committee and a Dispute Resolution Chambers as means to protect the rights of players. They also demand a minimum wage of N$5 000 for NPL players, N$15 000 appearance fees for both male and female senior national players and N$5 000 for the junior national representatives.  To all demands, the union gave the responsible parties to respond within 30 days. The petition was received by executive member Tim Isaacks on behalf of the NFA President who is out of the country on official duties. The Patriot understands that the line ministry and the sport commission were also invited to the march but both where absent at the venue.
Kahiriri however assured the crowd that they will make sure that both Ekandjo and the Commission receive the petitions. “This is the problem with the leaders in this country, when they want our votes, they will come here.  This why I say we want a young sports minister and not people who are on their way to the grave. People are put into office and when the public wants to see them, they are nowhere to be found.” Disgruntled Tura Magic player Manfred Kazondume expressed his frustration in the delay of the kick-off saying they are tired.  “Football must start in Namibia. It is very sad and painful for other players. It is also so embarrassing from hosting the COSAFA Cup to this. Football must start in Namibia,” said Kazondume.

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