… Says current leadership is killing football
By John Tuerijama
THE ongoing fracas within local football has forced former administrator, Hendrik Christiaan, to question the legality of how the Namibia Football Association (NFA) has intervened in the affairs of the Namibia Premier League (NPL), while also lashing out at the riches that administrators have amassed over the years.
Christiaan, who is founder member of both the NFA and the NPL, said that the current football leadership has done nothing but kill the sport, by bringing it to its knees.
He added that the recent appointment of the NFA ad hoc committee, to run the affairs of the beleaguered NPL, was an unlawful.
“They NPL had an extraordinary meeting, in which they decided to elect an interim committee, which is within their jurisdiction, and the NFA as a voluntary organisation has no powers to suspend or fire anyone, as their laws and statutes do not give them such powers,” said the veteran football administrator.
He said that the statutes do not pave the way for NFA intervention in the affairs of the topflight league, and certainly does not condone the replacement of the NPL interim committee with an NFA ad hoc committee.
Christiaan also said that the endorsement of the NFA ad hoc committee, by the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), is equally unlawful, as the endorsement took place in the absence of the NPL interim committee members, who are complaining about the illegal interference of the NFA.
“That endorsement is equally invalid, as the NPL interim committee was not given an audience to spell out their grievances,” said Christiaan, who is the special advisor to the Namibia Football Players Union.
He said that the reported imminent breakaway from the NPL, by top clubs like African Stars, Black Africa, Tigers and Orlando Pirates, is a repeat of 1985, when the same clubs including Blue Waters, Eleven Arrows, Chelsea and Chief Santos opted to part ways with the South West Africa Football Association, to form the Namibia National Soccer League (NSSL), which later became the controlling body for black footballers.
“It’s not really a new thing, because the current football leaders have truly failed football. I personally support the breakaway, so that finally football can start, and have supporters rallying behind their favourite teams,” said Christiaan.
“I don’t think these clubs would want to play football under the current difficult situation. When you truly look at the riches that these football administrators have amassed; and yet we are told the NFA does not have money.”
Christiaan said that despite the NFA claiming not having money, officials at the Soccer House have bought themselves fancy cars and expensive houses, in posh neighbourhoods, at the expense of football. Christiaan questioned what happened to the N$3 million annual grants that the NFA has received from FIFA since 1998. “What happened to those grants, as nothing can be accounted for; all they did is to make money through corrupt means,” alleged Christiaan.
The former premier league chairman also question the promotion criteria for teams to be elevated to the premier league, saying that these days, teams gets promotion preference just two years after being established.
He said promotion playoffs alone are not enough, and proposed that the new NPL leadership should add more qualifying criteria for the elite league.
“You have teams like Tura Magic, Citizens and Young Africans, whose supporters are merely a handful. I think the support bases of individual clubs must be questioned; there is no way you can claim to be a premier league team, yet your support base is non-existent,” Christiaan argued.
The worried football guru said that the unfolding fiasco must be squarely shouldered by the current footballing leadership.
The NPL is in the midst of a torrid battle to resume league action, after its sole sponsor, MTC, withdrew its sponsorship at the end of the 2015/16 season. The league has been in limbo since September last year, after MTC withdrew their sponsorship of N$15 million per year for three years, because the league had failed to secure an additional sponsor to supplement the budgetary shortfall of N$9 million per year.
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