By John Tuerijama
THE postponement of the kick-off of the Namibia Premier League due to sponsorship issues has not dampened the spirit of some clubs.
Early this week, football authorities announced the initial kick-off date of August 20 has been moved to September 16, on account of sponsorships that are still being sourced.
With a gun to their heads, the NPL top brass are frantically looking for companies to bail out the elite league. Failure to secure any sponsors will mean they must also say goodbye to MTC, their main benefactor.
It was MTC’s spokesperson, Tim Ekandjo, who announced two months ago that MTC will only commit its money if NPL secures an addition N$9 million to add to the telecommunication company’s N$15 million.
MTC has now agreed to have the sponsorship search extended to August 22. But while that is happening, some clubs have decided to go their own way, preparing their players for the new season.
The transfer market was also said to be very busy with some teams beefing up their squads and others negotiating for the extension of contracts with players who would soon be free agents.
Coastal-based Blue Waters team manager, Tostao Imbili said his team is fully focused on the pre-season training and will continue to do so until advised.
“We are preparing, and in fact we started our training on 9 June. We are really unfazed by the situation as we do not want any distraction,” said Imbili.
Asked whether the NPL will eventually get a sponsor, he said: “That’s their baby. They have assured us that they have an added sponsor and but like I said, we do not need any distraction of any sort.”
Eleven Arrows head coach, Lucky Shipanga said as a coach he is focused on his players while his management is monitoring the sponsorship issue.
“We have been training for the past six to eight weeks but to hear that there are no funds will definitely make it difficult to plan ahead. Unfortunately, the situation is that teams depend solely on MTC’s monthly grant,” said Shipanga.
Shipanga has called on the business sector to support football. “Namibians have people with vision and money. Just look at the Olufuko example where an individual pledged N$1 million. Do you really want to tell me that there is no business that can come on board as an additional sponsor?”
“If we do not get a sponsor then there is absolutely no hope for our young players and more especially for the just crowned COSAFA Under 17 championships whose dreams and passion could be shattered.”
Black Africa’s newly appointed coach, Otto Landsberg has welcomed the extension of the deadline and is now focused on the pre-season training.
He said training has been going very well and is confident that sponsorship discussions will yield the much needed results and that the new season will kick off smoothly.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015