By John Tuerijama
INFIGHTING and backstabbing through the local media by sport administrators have left a bitter aftertaste in both the corporate and public sector sponsors and unless checked, could see a gradual reduction in sponsorship. Speaking during the official launch of the Skorpion Zinc Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women Super League last week, Skorpion Zinc corporate affairs manager Nora Ndopu warned those manning the Women’s Super League to refrain from fighting their battles through the media, but to rather resolve their differences in the boardroom. The Skorpion Zinc NFA Women Super League this year received a generous financial boost of N$750,000, which was upped to an eventual N$1 million by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA). The league kicked off at the NFA Technical Centre last weekend. Ten teams will compete for top honours, with only two teams, Omaheke Queens Football Club (FC) and Namib Daughters FC, being outsiders. Ndopu warned that the Skorpion Zinc NFA Women Super League must avoid what is happening in the men’s domestic league and instead find better ways to resolve issues amicably. She said they believe in women empowerment and that it is important to create opportunities for women, not only in entrepreneurship projects, but also in sports initiatives, especially football that is stereotypically regarded as a male sport. She urged the participating teams to compete in the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play and advised the women’s league organisers to produce positive results that will entice the sponsor to consider an annual increment to the sponsorship agreement. Echoing Ndopu’s warning was the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Emma Kantema-Gaomas, who also strongly warned the women leadership not follow in the footsteps of their male counterparts when comes to solving their differences. She said women and girls continue to face discrimination in access to sports as athletes and experience inequalities in professional sport: “By changing the perception in sports we will empower girls. The NFA Women Skorpion Zinc Super League presents us with a platform for our women and girls to showcase their talent and skills at the highest level in this country, hence making them competitive to take on international games.” She added that youth development programmes are central to the ministry’s quest to transform and professionalise sport in the country. She added that the funding support from Skorpion Zinc has ignited a spark in women and girls to unleash their potential and that the company’s investment has contributed greatly to inclusivity by ensuring that female athletes are not left behind. NFA secretary-general Barry Rukoro called on the league’s organisers to make the Women Super League attractive, not just locally but internationally, so that foreign players can come and ply their trade in Namibia. He said the league should not just attract foreign players, but also coaches and referees, so that it can become a major league in the SADC region. Rukoro further said that to make the league more attractive to spectators the senior national women team (Brave Gladiators) will play a team selected by the NFA Women Super League on a monthly basis to entice and attract more supporters. Teams competing in the 2018 Skorpion Zinc Women Super League include Girls Football Academy, NUST Babes FC, Unam Bokkies FC, Tura Magic FC, Khomas Nampol FC, V Power FC, Right Way FC, Galz & Goals FC, Namib Daughters FC, and Omaheke Queens FC.
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