By John Tuerijama
AS local football lovers are waiting anxiously for news on whether there will be any elite football on Namibia’s football fields this coming season, it has emerged that sports authorities at the highest level are scratching their heads to find the much-needed funds for the Namibia Premier League.
About a month ago, MTC, the sole benefactor of the Namibia Premier League (NPL), threw down the gauntlet to football leaders, telling them in no uncertain terms to find N$9 million before the telecommunications giant would put its own N$15 million on the table as sponsorship.
The NPL was given until end of July to find the money but was running from pillar to post to source the money. Although rumours are abound that a Good Samaritan has crept up from somewhere, the reality is that the search is still on.
Having run out of time, NPL bosses have decided to approach the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) to intervene but the sports controlling body has in turn passed the buck to the Ministry of Sport.
NSC Chairperson, Joel Matheus confirmed that the Commission has indeed approached Government to intervene.
“Yes the NSC approached the Ministry of Sport shortly after it was brought to our attention. In an effort to save Namibia football we even invited the NFA to accompany us (to the Ministry of Sport) so they can directly present their case themselves,” revealed Matheus.
The NSC boss said they have approached the line ministry, a day after the NFA presented them with their predicament on July 12 this year.
“But you must understand that three weeks is a short period of time, especially when you talk about such huge amounts of money. A decision of that magnitude must go through many channels in the system. Our hope is that Government will find a solution which is why we approached them as we do not want to see football or any other sport to suffer as a results of us not acting in the interest of our mandate,” said Matheus.
Asked if the NPL is involved in the deliberations Matheus said: “We don’t deal with the NPL directly. We deal with the association. The association approached us to find a solution for their affiliate which in this case is the NPL.”
Matheus said he has no control over what Government would decide and he felt it would be unfair to tell football lovers anything about what the course of action will be. “But let us remain positive, I am sure Government understands the dilemma that is faced here. The Government knows the consequences should there be no solution found and I am sure they will try their level best to remedy the situation,” he said.
He added: “This is an emergency and it needs an emergency rescue. If we don’t find a solution, we will fail the spirit of Harambee. NPL clubs employ over 400 players that earn a salary every month, if no solution is found all those players will be jobless.”
If the situation is not resolved, Matheus said many sectors of the economy will be affected, including hospitality, transport and the security industry which provide services to football almost every week during a football season.
“As an institution, our interest is to find a solution, but we don’t have that money to fund it on our own. We also depend on Government. As chairperson, I think it is high time to ensure that we (NSC) become an income generating institution, and not 100 per cent dependent on Government. Otherwise we will remain a helpless body until I don’t know when,” he emphasised.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015