By John Tuerijama
FORMER Namibia Premier League (NPL) Board of Governors (BoG) member, Beau Kauta has come to the defence of embattled NPL chairman Johnny John Doeseb who he said found football already in a mess when he took over the reins nearly a decade ago.
He was however quick to say that things have also not improved despite promises to the contrary by Doeseb.
Kauta, who was at one stage also spokesperson of the Namibia Football Association (NFA), said: “He found football in a mess and he promised to improve it, however, from the looks of it as an outsider not much has changed. In fact, he might leave it worse off.”
“The challenge facing football is financing. However, without the correct model not much will change even if you pump millions into football. There must be a proper structure from which the financial need arises, and as it is, it does not look like there is a holistic solution from the powers that be. You have clubs as members of the NPL who could do much more collectively,” he said.
According to Kauta, a simple solution would be for all the clubs to come together and agree on a funding model like the one used by European football authorities.
“In the USA, they have various sport codes that actually have salary caps. In fact, most of European clubs actually also have salary caps. Income for players is augmented with other sources such as TV rights and image rights,” he indicated.
Kauta argued that such a model, if adopted in Namibia, would solve most of the problems in football. “Players must also come to the party in that it will actually be better for a player to earn a certain amount of money monthly rather than nothing at all. But this will be a tall order as education is key in understanding exactly that,” he warned.
Kauta attributed the current funding challenges on the NPL’s over reliance on one sponsor but was quick to add that in the event that a new sponsor is found, the focus should be on the product that should enjoy more limelight than the sponsor.
Asked if the NPL is being professionally run, the outspoken football critic said: “Not at all. People misunderstand the concept of professionalism versus payment. Being paid does not mean you are doing things professionally and this includes the players as well. Professionalism entails both attitude and conduct. The NPL Management Committee (MC) needs to be impartial and should consist of people with both integrity and the necessary qualifications. Clubs themselves don’t have a benchmark of inter-trading whereby a player can be bought from one team to go to another.”
“A simple but comprehensive formula of valuing players can be established and the clubs must become signatory to this. You cannot pay a player, as an example N$3 000, and yet you expect to sell the same player for N$100 000. This does not make sense. During my time (as BoG member), you found that members of the MC were actually people with vested interest in clubs and challenges are never solved as each member had different interests and this was conflicting most of the time,” revealed Kauta.
He said the independence of the NPL cannot be stressed enough but that although the NPL is an affiliate of the NFA, the two bodies are separate institutions and should be treated as such.
He hastened to note that an interdependent culture prevails whereby the two institutions are not easily distinguishable.
“A case in point is the first and second divisions which have not started as I suspect this is closely linked to the inactivity of the Premier League in the country. The first and second divisions are the responsibility of the NFA and not the NPL. Though much focus has been on the inactivity of the NPL, we do not hear much regarding the start of the lower divisions though by all accounts the football season will come to a close in the next three and a half months,” he argued.
Asked about dual responsibilities of some NPL BoG members who work for the NFA, Kauta said: “When I was serving at the BoG, this was one of the points that I raised regarding NFA staff members who will then sit as part of the BoG. My simple response is that as long as this is the case you cannot have the two bodies functioning independently.”
On the reluctance of the corporate sector to inject funds into football, Kauta said most sponsors would want to see a return on their investment and that does not necessarily mean income but could be growth.
“Unfortunately, I cannot use the argument of a small population as Botswana, our neighbour has a similar size population, but in the same vein that you cannot say a big population guarantees success,” he said.
On how the current football leadership can maintain professionalism Kauta said: “Have an independent MC made up of no more than five members. The clubs must learn to agree to disagree for the good of the game, as long as you have a highly-qualified lawyer and a layman all representing clubs as BoG members, I guarantee you nothing will be solved. There must be a minimum level of qualification attached to these BoG members. People come under the guise of ‘for the love of the game’ yet end up doing harm to the game.”
Asked where it all went wrong, Kauta noted: “I often wonder how people from first world countries actually resign from positions of influence without them being pushed for simple things such as accountability. Yet in Africa and Namibia in particular, we tend to cling on to the very end, and even though much damage has been done, it is reversible after all football is the most loved sports in the country and on the continent.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015