President Hage Geingob is not impressed with football bosses in the country who continue to fight in boardrooms while football continues to be dormant in the country.
Geingob met with the leadership of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) at State House yesterday in search for answers over the state of football in the country, but the meeting yielded little results with officials mostly playing the blame-game instead of taking responsibility for the precarious state of football in the country.
Geingob, a passionate football lover, told the authorities that the absence of football in the country impedes governments fight against poverty.
The NFA delegation led by president Frans Mbidi met with President Hage Geingob at State House to brief him on the current football climate.
An interim committee had met Geingob in March 2017 and promised to address the football shortcomings in the country-little progress has been made so far.
At the time, the football authorities vowed that the football fracas would be swiftly addressed and set 12 May 2017 as the tentative date on which the Namibian premier League would commence. That date has come and gone.
Mbidi was seemingly more interested in attacking the media for exposing NFA’s boardroom fights instead addressing the real issues.
He rubbished reports that NFA was plotting to take over the NPL saying “at no stage did the NFA attempt to hijack premier league football because that is a very minimal responsibility as opposed to that of the NFA.”
Negotiations between the appointed interim committee that was given the mandate to bring back football and the potential league sponsors (MTC) reached a dead end when the NFA pronounced the interim body illegal.
Those in the football arena claim that the league was due to start on 12 May but such plans were derailed after NFA deemed the interim committee illegal. The committee has since been replaced.
The interim committee members were Ranga Haikali (Black Africa), Evaristus Evaristus (Unam FC), Gabriel Tjombe (Eleven Arrows FC), Victor Hamunyela (Civics) and chairperson Franco Comsos (Blue Waters).
In a supposed move to legalize the unrecognized body, NFA semantically renamed the interim committee to an Ad-hoc committee and further appointed Chairman of NFA’s Competitions Roger Kambatuku as the chairman of the Ad-hoc committee.
NFA’s move to appoint their executive member (Kambatuku) to run the affairs of the NPL contradicts Mbidi’s comment that his house has no intentions to hijack the NPL. Football critics have also highlighted that Kambatutku’s appointment has amputated the autonomous state that the NPL is supposed operate under.
The newly appointed Ad hoc chairperson has been tightlipped to the question the general public continues to ask – ‘when is the league starting?’
Mbidi yesterday however pushed blame on the minority clubs that refused to accept the transition to the ad hoc committee to be the figures holding football hostage and driving the name of football in disrepute.
At the time the interim committee was dismantled, then chairperson refused to set foot in the ad hoc committee citing irregularities. Comsos then said: “How do you want me to serve on the Ad hoc committee if you said that I am illegal?” These comments were followed by his resignation from the new body.
Mbidi further claimed that the members of the then interim committee that visited State House in March lied to the nation. He said of the 16 registered teams in the NPL, three (which are headed by the then interim committee members) were not registered because they did not have players.
“They are the ones who came to State House to indicate that football will start on 12 May. They were not honest because if they wanted the league to start on 12 May, they would have registered players,” said Mbidi.
Mbidi supported the appointment of the ad hoc committee saying the Namibia Sport Commission rubber-stamped their[NFA] decision saying he does not understand why some members did not want to be part of the Ad – hoc committee.
Mbidi said attempts and requests to dissolve the NPL will never be an option just because of a few clubs. “NPL is not a private competition but an NFA competition. We cannot at any stage think of the dissolution of the NPL. The rule is clear and it will not happen,” he charged.
One of the Ad hoc committee members Evaristus Evaristus interjected in a bid to give an update as to what the new heads have done to ensure that the league commences soon.
He said besides the completion of constitution amendments, the league’s kick-off date remains in the hands of the sponsors.
“The only thing that is hindering us in terms of football to start is the awaited feedback from our main sponsor MTC. Once they have pronounced their formal position, we will then engage the other two sponsors (FNB and NBL). The kick-off of the league is dependent on the feedback that we will receive, then only we can say when the league will start,” said Everistus.
After Mbidi and Evaristus gave their accounts, Geingob reminded the football authorities that the ‘blame-game’ is not good for any of the football stakeholders.
“If young people are running in the streets because there is no football, it affects me as the head of state in fighting poverty,” said Geingob.
According to Geingob, the dormant state of domestic football is to blame for the country country’s poor performance internationally. He made reference to the recent Brave Warriors loss to Guinea Bissau saying had there been active football locally, the results could have been different.
“Speaking of development, when are we going to develop the grass-root level when we are busy quarreling at the top for positions? The grassroots are suffering now and when they suffer, they will be hungry and commit crime. Why are there so much infightings and we don’t look at the bigger goal? It is bad. There are no friendlies and no league to feed the national team with players,” said Geingob.
Following up on the account of the replaced illegal interim committee, line minister Jerry Ekandjo questioned why the NFA brought the interim committee to State House in March knowing that they were illegal.
The two members that have since relieved themselves from the Ad hoc committee are Franco Cosmos and Ranga Haikali.
All was going well until Geingob gave the media an opportunity to pose questions based on the briefing. The question that remains to get no answer is why the NFA came to the State House with an interim committee knowing that the body was illegal.
The rising tension in the room of questions not getting answers saw both the Geingob and Ekandjo sending back the football administrators to go iron out their problems.
“Put your personal heads aside when it comes to national issues. Go now and talk openly and solve out your issues. We know what is going on and in the name of transparency, we met here today. If we went without the journalists asking questions, we would have gone thinking everything is ok. Swallow the pride and sort things out. We are all involved,” said Geingob.