EARLIER this year, sporting fans were caught off-guard, when the Namibia Football Association (NFA) announced that the country’s under-17 national football team would not be defending their Cosafa Cup title, due to lack of funding.
Earlier this week, the national football body decided to take the nation into its confidence and share that it urgently needs N$12 million, so that the country can honour its international commitments until March next year.
This is a good step, as it shows that the NFA wants to be transparent, efficient and professional in the way that it conducts itself.
Informing the public of its current and future challenges, which may impact negatively on our international participation, was the right move.
It’s important that the football association and other sporting bodies should express themselves publically, in terms of their challenges, so that sport fans don’t get nasty surprises.
However, the fact remains that it is now in the public domain that the NFA needs N$12 million to secure the country’s international participation.
Having heard NFA President Frans Mbidi’s disclosure, the first thing that came to mind was the Brave Warriors maiden appearance at the 2018 CHAN finals in Kenya, early next year.
The Brave Warriors also have another important international engagement against Zambia at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on 27 March next year, as they continue their bid to qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals in Cameroon.
Is this match included in the N$12 million that is needed by the NFA?
And what about post-March 2018, when the Brave Warriors are set to compete at the Cosafa Cup finals?
Their 2019 Afcon qualifiers are expected to continue in September next year, when we take on Mozambique in home and away clashes, while in October, we will host Guinea-Bissau and travel to Zambia.
Perhaps Mbidi should tell us how much is needed in total for the whole campaign and so that the junior national teams can also play internationally.
I bet it is much more than the N$12 million which is needed, to ensure that Namibia adheres to its international obligations, because if we fail to honour them, we will be facing the axe from the continental body, CAF.
My question is whether our politicians will undergo a change in mindset, as they embark on the different processes ahead of the announcement of the national budget early next year.
These processes, which will culminate in a budget statement by Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, take place against the backdrop of the increasing financial handicaps being experienced by the sport fraternity.
I understand that the economic meltdown, due to local and global factors, has impacted all sectors negatively, but why should it always be sport funding that is decimated, when the hard times hit?
I sincerely hope that the political exists to inject more funding into sport and its development.
Although it may not always be advisable to share your financial sorrows with corporate Namibia and the public, if you are a sporting code, the NFA needs to be commended for paying open cards.
Companies have now heard what is required, and they should come to the party, together with government.
At the end of the day, all sport fans want to see is that our various national teams should not be compromised, in terms of their international participation, as they are the pride of our nation.
Let us now see an honest accounting from other sporting codes as well, so we can have a real assessment of the challenges we have to overcome, in order to ensure that our national flag flies high at global sporting events.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015