… As league flourishes in Katutura, despite challenges
By John Tuerijama
AMID the ongoing doom and gloom surrounding the Namibia Premier League (NPL), township football is flourishing in the Samora Machel constituency in Havana, Katutura on Saturdays, where 18 teams are competing in the Shanoloh League.
The teams are drawn from the surrounding areas, including from Sevende and Agste Laan, with the league scheduled to conclude in October.
So far each team has played 18 league matches, with United Boys FC currently heading the log table with 48 points.
Shanoloh League Administrator, 32-year-old Elia ‘Well-Known Bono’ Kandjombanga, who hails from Ohangwena, told Confidente that despite the league being active almost every weekend, there are a number of challenges they are facing.
“We have serious problems, such as the playing field not being level. The league’s executive has engaged the City of Windhoek and its councillors, but we have heard absolutely nothing afterwards.
“The City of Windhoek has promised to upgrade the field. It is so disappointing that no one wants to assist us in this humble cause of ours,” said the league administrator, while adding that the league had been created in 2009, and was still going strong.
Kandjambanga, who plays for Ondombe Eleven, a team that is currently occupying eighth place in the league, said they are also struggling with a lack of equipment, such as soccer balls and nets. The league also does not have a proper pavilion that can accommodate its growing number of spectators, especially the elderly. Kandjambanga said further that the Kasi Cup, the brainchild of the City of Windhoek, which started in 2012, has not taken place for the past two years. The top eight Shanoloh League teams had previously competed in the Kasi Cup, along with teams from other informal areas in Katutura. “I don’t know what the reasons are for ending the tournament, since nothing has been communicated to us; we really don’t know anything,” he said. When asked if he has seen any premier league coaches at Shanoloh League games over the years, Kandjambanga said that a number of topflight league mentors have scouted for talent at their past matches. However, since the NPL has been inactive since September last year, topflight coaches are now rarely seen at Shanoloh League games, he said. Kandjambanga said he is pleased that there are a number of players from the township league, who have graduated to play for premier league teams, because their outstanding talent had impressed NPL coaches. Although Ondombe Eleven were hammered 3-1 by Brave United FC this past Sunday, Kandjambanga, who is a defender, is confident that they will improve dramatically, as they want to finish in the top five. Commenting on how the league contributes to the fight against poverty and crime in the settlement, Kandjambango said that each team has registered 50 players, which means that there are a substantial number of young men, who are focused on football, and not on crime and other social evils. He said that the league is very important, as it also focuses youth to concentrate on their club commitments.
Teams fork out a paltry N$1 000 each for league registration, which amounts to a total of N$18 000 for the league’s 18 clubs.
Some of the money is used for administration and the buying of equipment, while whatever is left is used as prize money for the league’s top five teams, at the end of the season. Supenitha FC midfielder, Thomas Nghishishi, said the league is very important, because it keeps young men away from crime-related activities.
The 22-year-old, who is an auto mechanic student at the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre (VTC), is optimistic about the league’s positive contribution, especially during weekends.
When contacted about why the Kasi Cup was no longer taking place, City of Windhoek Head of Sport and Recreation, Wacca Kazombiaze said, “We have informed them (the Shanoloh League) about the reasons why we put the Kasi Cup on hold.
“I have instructed my sport officer to carry out an investigation into all the leagues being played in the settlement areas, to determine whether we must take the top two teams from each league, or remain with the top eight scenario,” said the former rugby player. Kazombiaze said that the investigation was prompted by the fact that some teams, who did not finish in the top eight in their respective leagues, moved out in protest and established their own leagues, so they could easily qualify for the Kasi Cup.
He said that the City of Windhoek intervention is aimed at bringing proper structure and cohesion to the Kasi Cup.
Kazombiaze said he is awaiting the report, which will determine the way forward for the cup competition that normally takes place in November. Meanwhile, the Mayoral Cup, which is contested annually by primary schools in the capital, has also been put on hold. Kazombiaze said that the seven-year-old competition has witnessed an increase in the number of primary schools competing, and this has put a severe logistical strain on the three-day event, which in turn negatively affected the young players. An investigation on how to best deal with the Mayoral Cup is also being undertaken, and the best option would probably be to establish a Mayoral League, Kazombiaze added.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015