By John Tuerijama
THE Namibia Football Association (NFA) is facing the prospect of its government funding being slashed from an already paltry N$6 million, to N$4 million, which could severely impact on the Brave Warriors qualification hopes for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament, slated for Cameroon.
Also in jeopardy, is Namibia’s qualification for the 2018 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament in Kenya, and its participation in July’s Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Castle Cup, which is scheduled to take place in South Africa.
This comes amid ongoing fears that the NFA, which receives its government grant through the sports ministry, is likely to have its annual allocation slashed, which will also likely lead to the international calendar being reduced for all the country’s national teams.
This follows the ministry allocating a mere N$21,6million to the Namibia Sports Comission for the 2017/18 financial year.
Some are speculating that the NFA should expect to receive no more than N$4 million from the NSC, which has already cut its contribution to the country’s football fraternity from N$10 million to N$6 million over the past three financial years.
Brave Warriors mentor, Ricardo Mannetti, whose contract stipulates that he will be judged on whether his team qualifies for AFCON 2019, said he is focused and determined to qualify for the tournament, but that this squarely depends on the financial resources available, to make that expectation a reality.
NFA Secretary-General, Barry Rukoro, told Confidente this week that although they did not want to compromise on any international commitments, including the country’s upcoming under-17 and U-20 matches, reasonable financial resources are needed to boost the Brave Warriors hopes of qualifying for AFCON 2019.
A visibly worried Rukoro said that enough resources are needed to have a successful Brave Warriors qualifying campaign for both the AFCON and CHAN tournaments, while the national team also wanted to make the country proud at this year’s COSAFA Castle Cup.
Rukoro revealed that despite the NFA submitting budget proposals for N$50 million a year, over the past few years, it only received a percentage of this.
“Truly speaking, we need (a minimum) of N$20 million (a year) to create the necessary professional environment, and for players to feel supported, as most players play professional football, mostly in neighbouring South Africa. They expect a professional level, but a lack of resources does not create the positive training camps that are needed,” Rukoro stressed.
He said that with less than N$6 million forthcoming from government, Namibians should expect less matches involving the various national teams.
“Out of the seven national teams, we might see a situation where two to five national teams will not compete or participate internationally,” warned Rukoro.
“Yes, with less than N$6 million, we will be forced to scale down on our participation. We have submitted our calendar last year, and again this year, but I guess we will have to wait until the money gets released, which is normally at the end of May,” he said.
“Last year we were allocated N$6 million, maybe because of the economic meltdown and inflation, but we did not get the whole N$6 million, and yes, we still owe money to some service providers,” added Rukoro.
He said that players called up for the recent Brave Warriors training camp were not accommodated at a hotel, because the NFA “does not have a penny to house them at any commercial establishment”.
“We owe people money, and mind you, we have not received the whole N$6 million of the last financial year, and with such meagre resources we will not be able to build any future national teams,’’ stressed Rukoro.
He, however, admitted that it was perhaps too early to pre-empt what the NFA will receive from the NSC.
“It is very important for the ministry of sport to urgently release the money, which is normally done through the sports commission. Mannetti has kicked off with training camps, and I must tell you that Namibia is drawn in a very good AFCON qualifying group.”
Rukoro said the countries drawn against Namibia, such as Zambia and Mozambique, have been underdogs to the Brave Warriors over the past two years.
“The other group contender, Guinea-Bissau, is not an African powerhouse, and all we need is to create the necessary environment, in which the players feel supported and wanted. They need to be serious about the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, and that will only be attained if both government and the corporate sector change their attitude, and seriously revisit their priorities,” Rukoro said.
The Brave Warriors kick off their 2019 AFCON qualification campaign against Guinea Bissau in June, while they are set to play Zimbabwe, home and away, in the CHAN second round in July
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015