By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA Football Association president, Frans Mbidi has thrown in his hat to be considered for the vice presidency of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA).
COSAFA will have its congress in Rustenburg, South Africa next month where several football officials will be vying for positions on the regional football body.
Mbidi confirmed that the NFA has nominated him for a seat on the COSAFA high table. Asked why he was not gunning for the top position, he said: “I am not contesting the position of COSAFA president because I believe it is too early to aim for that position.”
The COSAFA vice presidency is currently held by Lesotho’s incumbent Salemane Phafane who is also competing to keep his position.
Former NFA president, John Muinjo, who is also an executive member of COSAFA has been nominated to retain his executive seat on the regional body. All nominations were due by November 2 2016 which deadline was met by the NFA.
With regard to whom he will support for the COSAFA presidency, Mbidi said the NFA will screen the candidates and make its decision based on how best the candidate can unify the region and also on what he has to offer the rest of the football associations.
Apart from incumbent Sekute Patel of Seychelles, other candidates contesting the presidency are the presidents of the Zimbabwean and South African football associations, Phillip Chiyangwa and Danny Jordan, respectively.
When asked how important the COSAFA elections are is for the development of football within the SADC region, Mbidi said elections are very important in any democracy since they give the electorate a chance to make their voices heard and to elect those candidates they believe are able to transform their wishes and aspirations into practical realities.
“Development can only happen if the elected leaders display accountability, selflessness and respect,” he stressed.
Mbidi said Namibia is and will remain a devoted COSAFA member and holding any position in the zone is not more important that unity in COSAFA.
“We will continue to support our brothers and sisters in the region who we believe can make meaningful contributions to the growth of COSAFA and African football as a whole,” he emphasised.
On the competitiveness of COSAFA competitions, Mbidi said: “I would love to have senior national teams represented by top players from all the participating countries. But first we need to get these competitions to take place within the FIFA dates to enable our top players to partake,” he said.
He added: “This will be difficult but whoever is elected should advocate for FIFA recognition of this COSAFA event”.
Asked about the role that COSAFA could play in the development of women football in the region, Mbidi said FIFA, CAF and the NFA have included women’s football as an important component of their development programmes. He expressed the hope that COSAFA will also follow suit.
“As a matter of fact, it is our collective understanding that the time has arrived to give due recognition to women football in the region. It is with this in mind that we in the zone would like to propose to the COSAFA General Assembly to include a female representative on the COSAFA executive committee.”
He said although there was no discrimination at all from the COSAFA leadership, he suggested that women’s football needs to be marketed more aggressively in order to attract sponsorship for the game.
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