By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA Football Association (NFA) president Frans Mbidi says Namibia won’t be expelled from CAF and FIFA due to the Namibia Premier League (NPL) being dormant.
The NPL’s 2016/17 season was due to kick off last Friday but due to funding issues, it is now uncertain when it will start. This has raised concern from among football lovers that the continental and world football controlling bodies will kick out Namibia as a member of the international football family.
Mbidi has however assured that the country’s membership won’t be affected although it will be difficult for Namibia to compete on the international stage.
He said although the other NFA members (first and second divisions, and women’s football) might continue with league commitments and thereby contribute players to the youth national teams the situation will be different for the senior national side, adding that the situation will negatively impact Namibia’s CAF and FIFA rankings.
That means development funding from FIFA will also reduce as a result of the country’s football situation. In Mbidi’s view, it was thus important that the NPL is kept running at all costs.
“The league can unfortunately not kick-off without funding. All over the world, leagues are funded by corporates, and in some instances governments, but without financial support from these entities we cannot start the league,” he said.
“This will deny our young boys and girls the opportunity to display their talent while their counterparts in other parts of the world are gaining advantage in terms of skill development and gaining a competitive edge,” he emphasised.
With regards to finding a sponsor for the NPL both the NFA and the NPL leadership have embarked on a journey of collectively securing sponsorship for the elite league.
Mbidi said he had a consultative meeting with the members of the NPL’s board of governors last week, which he said was very fruitful. “I can confidently share with you that after that marathon meeting, football leaders emerged very united and focused.”
The meeting also resolved to grant the NFA president permission to engage in sponsorship negotiations with potential sponsors. “I must actually applaud the NPL leadership for their relentless efforts in their continuous pursuit of finding funding for football,” he said.
Asked who should shoulder the blame for the current situation, Mbidi said: “I don’t like blame games. One of the reasons why we need to engage potential sponsors now is to establish any shortcoming in the previous proposals. Blaming people will not solve any of our problems now or in the future but learning from past mistakes will make us better, stronger and wiser.”
The NFA president has also applauded the players, through the Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU) for their call to corporates to consider the plight of players who are now without income.
“Adding their voices to that of our own is a welcome resolve and I can only applaud them for that initiative. Our players have proven their ability to compete at the highest level albeit with very limited resources,” he said.
“The low turnout of spectators at football games is also not serving as motivation to the players and sponsors alike. My appeal to everyone involved in football (including the players) is for them to take on the responsibility of promoting or marketing football matches week in and week out in order to boost match attendance and eventually performance,” Mbidi said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015