By Sports Reporter
THE man who rescued Namibian football from oblivion has called it a day. Botswana national, Ashford Mamelodi, is widely credited for having saved local football, in his capacity as FIFA’s Development Officer for Africa.
Mamelodi quit his FIFA job after the world controlling body decided to relocate the Africa office from Gaborone (Botswana) to Johannesburg in South Africa.
In 2006, Namibian football was at its lowest, virtually at the point of breaking into two. Factions were formed between football officials who accused each other of destroying football.
There was the legitimately elected Namibia Football Association executive on the one hand, and an Interim Committee on the other hand. Both claimed to have been legitimately put in place to address the country’s football interests.
Such was the tension in the country that FIFA had considered to suspend Namibia from global football. Not even cries for level headedness by the then sports minister have fallen on deaf ears. FIFA had to intervene and they sent their best man for the job – Ashford Mamelodi. The cool, calm and collected Botswana national arrived in Namibia with one plan in mind which was to ensure that Namibian football is rescued and that young men and women continued to play football.
At that time, Namibian football was at the mercy of the Namibian football consortium consisting of MTC, Namibia Breweries and First National Bank. Together, this trio of companies bankrolled the various football competitions in the country. But because of the impasse in football, they also decided to withhold their funds, resulting in stone cold absence of football from the football fields.
It was placed upon Mamelodi’s shoulders to rescue Namibian football. He came up with a blueprint or roadmap for Namibian football. In terms of this roadmap, the two factions were merged into an Interim Committee which was tasked with the running of football until a new national leadership was elected. In addition, the roadmap dictated that each of Namibia’s 13 political regions at the time should elect a new leadership. In turn, the newly elected chairpersons of the 13 football regions would elect a new NFA president and executive committee. After that, a new NFA constitution would be drafted and implemented by January 2007, to set a new course for Namibian football.
After all was said and done, Mamelodi oversaw the entire process to overhaul Namibian football and he brought in officials from FIFA in Zurich to supervise the NFA elections where John Muinjo emerged victorious over rival Hendrik Davids and was installed as NFA Pre s i dent.
Mamelodi served FIFA for 16 years and before that he was Botswana Football Association secretary general. Among his achievements, he will certainly look back to his Namibia rescue mission as one of his most successful accomplishments. As he enjoys his retirement, word on the streets of Gaborone is that he may be roped in to save Botswana football as president of Botswana Football Association.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015