By John Tuerijama
THE International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) FUTURO III Regional Instructor in Administration and Management, Mathew Haikali has called on the Namibia Football Association (NFA) to investigate allegations of tribalism within the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
Former NPL Chairman, Johnny John Doeseb (JJD) cited both tribalism and back-stabbing as reasons for his resignation last week.
In the wake of this development within the NPL, Confidente spoke to Haikali for his views on the goings-on at the NPL.
Confidente: Following the resignation of NPL’s chairman JJD due to backstabbing and tribalism and coupled with pressure from the Premier League teams, what in your opinion should be the ideal way-forward for the envisaged Interim Committee?
Mathew Haikali: FIFA discourages issues around racism and tribalism. Even the NFA and NPL Constitutions discourage that. If this is the case, then the NFA should investigate these allegations and punish those found guilty as per the prescribed regulations and laws. As for the pressure for him to resign, it is a collective decision from those who elected him. It was also their responsibility to put new people to take the league forward.
Confidente: Football critics have also singled out Premier League clubs as having done little in sourcing for potential sponsors in that they wholly depended on the NPL for a sponsor, what’s your take on that scenario? What do you think really went wrong and why could the NPL MC not secure a sponsor?
MH: In 2009, FIFA sponsored a programme that was aimed at ensuring that the development of the clubs playing in the premier league was developed to ensure sustainability of the funding streams, which needed to be explored by the clubs in their quest to ensure a continuous income stream.
Due to various personal and individual egos, the Windhoek Declaration was never fully endorsed by the various parties, which led to the implementation of a clear pathway for development was halted. In 2010, the NPL clubs had a strategic planning meeting that was sponsored by various private institutions, such as Hollard and NU Diamond who were interested in investing in the game.
The outcome of that strategic planning was a series of activities that were intended to propel the league to a level that other successful countries have achieved. Unfortunately the only activity and the first item on that strategic plan was the change of the NPL logo and a new motto, which was done alongside advertising banners for each of the clubs.
A budget allocation of over half a million was allocated to the capacity development of the members which included a training for media officers for the clubs as well as marketing officers in an attempt to build the capacity of the clubs to build the profile of the clubs and add value by giving the required mileage to the sponsors. This never happened and if you remember during the end of the 2010/11 season, the league had to forfeit an amount of N$ 2.5 million to MTC as it had been budgeted for but was not utilised. The following seasons have seen the league continue to just organise football matches without much consideration for the added value that was supposed to be given to the sponsors. Due to a lack of competent administration both at league and clubs, the image of the league and the sponsors has gone down. Who would want to invest in a product that does not give a return on investment?
This scenario has also caused other potential sponsors to shun the league, as they can see that there is no ROI, being given to the current sponsor. Even when calls were made for other corporate sponsors to come on board, they were simply mere calls, it seems there were no real offers of ROI.
Confidente: In your view, what qualifications should the NPL leadership have to take the game forward? MH: Football globally is a multi-billion-dollar business, for example, there is no way you expect a person with a grade 10, as an administrator, to take your club or the league for that matter, and due to his or her intellectual capability.
There is a need to ensure that people are equipped with the necessary sports management qualification coupled with business acumen, to be able to take the NPL to the next level. Therefore, for me it is important that the football leadership at club level be equipped with the necessary sports management competencies together with a mindset that football is nowadays a business and not a part-time activity. Thus, you need to have a fully-fledged secretariat to be able to make sure that all administrative, financial and fiduciary responsibilities are taken care off. And this should cascade to the clubs as well. You cannot tell the clubs to have a staff complement of 10 while the secretariat has only two.
Confidente: One would say Premier League teams came out victorious in the ousting of JJD but there seem to be no blueprint on the way forward. What in your opinion should urgently be done to arrest the situation facing the NPL?
MH: The NPL has a strategic document developed in 2010 and the 2009 Windhoek declaration, which are documents that can be used to guide the league, if revisited and amended taking into consideration the time that has lapsed.
But due to the capacity at the secretariat, these documents have not been able to help the league. What is required is that the NPL needs to present a comprehensive document that maps the way forward on how the following two things will be achieved: (a) the building of the image and capacity of the clubs and (b) the sustainability model to be adopted by both the clubs and the league.
Confidente: Having served as the NPL Chief Executive Officer in the past, what were the pertinent problems you encountered that made the implementation process of some programmes difficult?
MH: One of the biggest challenge in the implementation of programmes that can assist in the growth of the league, is the lack of a staff complement, with adequate know-how on the business of football, both at league and club level.
There is a need that people who serve on the management of the league are not linked to individual members of the league, as this sometimes compromises the decision making of the League.
There is also a need for a legal person within the league to ensure compliance by all members.
Confidente: In your opinion, why is the corporate sector reluctant to inject money into the NPL? Would you say there are no mechanisms in place to deter fraudsters from mismanaging sponsor’s monies?
MH: When the previous sponsors increased the funding for the league in the 2010/11 season, one of the conditions was that the league appoints a full time financial manager to assist with the financial management at the league. In return, the league was going to receive the sponsorship funds to manage, but the league never appointed a Financial Manager and the sponsor continued to effect the sponsorship on a request basis.
This process ensured that the mismanagement of sponsors’ money was reduced to the bare minimum. I believe this is the challenge that the league faces, and unless it is addressed, no corporate wants to give funding and then manage it, and thus the reluctance of the corporates to sponsor.
Confidente: What do you think of the proposal to have all NPL MC Members attend a course in football administration and management as a requirement, and do you think Premier League clubs field in unqualified representatives at the Board of Governors who have little or no interest in the management of football?
MH: The educational requirement for MC members would be a good start, but it should also be extended to the clubs as board of governors need to be people with specific competencies that would drive the policy direction of the league as opposed to their own club agendas.
Confidente: Is the N$ 24 million budget proposal a practical solution to the money woes experienced by the Premier League?
MH: The average monthly budget for a club is around N$150 000, which translates to N$1 800 000 annually. For all the 16 clubs in the NPL you will need a minimum of N$28 000 000.00, for them to be able to sustain their players, their training sessions and travel for matches. This excludes the cost of the league administrative staff, match officials, venues, running of club offices and the administrative staff.
The challenge would be ensuring that the funds disbursed to the clubs are used for the right purposes.
Therefore there is a need to put in mechanisms or regulations to ensure that the funds are used as they are intended for.
It will also be imperative that clubs are compelled to produce audited financial reports annually to show how the funds are used and justify that they are doing enough to ensure sustainability.
Confidente: Finally, what will be your professional advice to future BoG members and individual club managers?
MH: Revisit the 2009 Windhoek Declaration and the 2010 Strategic Plan, panel beat it to bring it up to date and use it as a bench mark going forward.
Also the BoG should consider seriously, implementing Club Licensing if our football is to move anywhere.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015