Friday 14 May 2021
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Domestic women’s football neglected

For years, NFA have neglected women’s football in the country, all but ignoring them and paying them a pittance.
In fact, Namibian women’s football administrators are a disgruntled lot. They feel neglected by the Namibian Football Association following deteriorating standards of women’s football in the country.
There has been sparse investment in Namibia’s female football fraternity, coupled with even scanter levels of attention domestically.
On an annual basis the NFA has successfully managed to secure funding from FIFA for women’s football. This year again they requested for funding to the tune of US$500 000 to cater for its operational costs in 2018, The Patriot can reveal. Of that amount, US$81 500 is reserved for domestic competitions for women and girls as well as other women’s football initiatives.
It is not known if the money requested from FIFA to cater for women’s football is handed over to the administrators of women’s football. Namibia Women Football Chairperson Jacqueline Gertze has bemoaned the lack of resources received from NFA and the long-term structural problems suffered by the players.
In a report seen by The Patriot addressed to NFA on 16 April 2018, Gertze said most regional programs have collapsed due to a lack of funds.
The situation is so dire that UNICEF stepped in to cater for the salaries of three NFA women department staff members for the past seven years.
Gertze said UNICEF is concerned over NFA’s apparent lack of support towards women’s football in the country. UNICEF also funds coaching courses for women’s football.
A sign of just how neglected the discipline has historically been is demonstrated by the fact that the women’s football leagues across the country have been inactive.
The last time the women’s premier football league was played was in 2016. Although the Brave Gladiators have been active, national team selectors had to make use of players that did not play any club football.
Gertze continuosly underscored the need to appoint a permanent coach for the Brave Gladiators. Brian Isaacs currently serves as interim coach.
She said the performance of the team has dropped significantly “mainly because of lack of financial support to play international matches before actual qualifiers and a lack of Association League Football action”.
The last time the Brave Gladiators rubbed shoulders on domestic turf was last year at the mercy Debmarine Namibia and local individual organizers who organised the Women Super Cup.
“The programmes submitted by the Women Department every year, does not enjoy feedback from the Executive Committee with regards to which programmes will be allocated funding for that specific year.”
The crisis-ridden NFA continuously alleges a lack of budget to support a women’s programme while spending millions on the Brave Warriors team.
The situation is far from resolved. Gertze’s report was an attempt designed to draw attention to their issues and force the NFA to take women’s football seriously.
But it is not just for economic reasons that the female football administrators feel they are disadvantaged.
The women’s game in Namibia has historically lagged far behind its male counterpart.  Neighbors Banyana Banyana to the south and other African nations boast professional women’s leagues while the Namibia female players continue as amateurs, although Zenatha Coleman, who plays in Spain and Veweziwa Kotjipati(Germany) as well as Annouscka Kordom who plays in USA are examples of players who have managed to make a living out of the game, albeit by moving abroad.
The report recommends, amongst others, that resources must be availed for preparations for competition at all times.
The current status-quo is that administrative members are forced to fork out funds from their purses, which has fuelled fracases during reimbursements. Gertze expressed displeasure over the limited supplies which include medical tools, transport as well as office equipment and staff.
Gertze also wants a dedicated amount of money to be allocated towards the Youth Girls League and Women Super League to kick off on 1 June every year while the Women’s Football together with NFA continue to search for sponsorship for the leagues on a sustainable basis.
The continued delayed payments also feature in the report in which the body recommends that the NFA discuss and makes allocations of payments of national team staff and players.
A player of the national team this week confirmed that they had only received their appearance fees this week for their away game played last month.
Gertze also called for better treatment with reference to surfacing allegations that the women’s desk has been on the receiving end of unfair treatment when it comes to transport, camping, meals, remunerations and playing attire. Sponsorship remains the thorn in the flesh when it comes to women’s football, with many corporates refusing to fund the inactive body.
Gertze urged the NFA to appoint a sponsorship committee that amplifies the voice of the NFA programmes support.
“Such a committee should be headed by an expert who can brand the association.
It is ok if the sponsor chooses the product they are attracted to or that which satisfies their interest and background but we as football leaders must portray a holistic approach and put equal importance to the development of women and girls as well as young boys,” said Gertze.
The contracts of the General Manager of Women Football, Girls Centre Manager, Centre Junior Staff and Women Department Junior Staff are either still to be provided, discussed or signed through the office of the NFA Secretary General Barry Rukoro.
This means that persons who currently occupy these positions have been working without valid contracts.

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