Ekandjo calls out everyone

MTC wants an improved NPL

17 June 2019 | Sports

MTC executive Tim Ekandjo has called on all stakeholders to pull up their socks, in order to improve the Namibia Premier League (NPL).

He raised a number of issues at the NPL awards on Saturday, including the constantly empty stadiums and the absence of corporate partners that can assist to fill them.

“Where there is unity of purpose, and we set aside our personal and corporate differences, it can only do soccer good. This also demonstrates that we can compete in a healthy manner,” Ekandjo said.

“On this note, MTC is inclined to do the same when competing sponsors wish to enter Namibian football. We extend a warm challenge to the likes of Paratus, Telecom Namibia and MTN, if they are still coming, and the other banks like Bank Windhoek, a truly Namibian bank, and Nedbank to join the family of Namibian football.

“As we speak, the first and second divisions are sitting without a sponsor while we have these companies; once again we invite you to play your part. We know that Nedbank is a big soccer brand in South Africa, we ask you to emulate that in Namibia,” Ekandjo added.

He, however, said that sponsors cannot just come on board if NPL is not in order.

“Instead of promoting the game, all we do is fight each other left, right and centre. You cannot market a controversial brand to anybody. It is a non-starter.

“Today we are embarrassingly represented by a FIFA normalisation committee (NC), suggesting that the state of affairs in our football has become abnormal, or not normal, for a lack of a better word. What a reflection this is on our leadership in football, and a reflection of all Namibians unfortunately.

“It is within our power to change this but it will require a serious paradigm shift,” emphasised Ekandjo.

He further promised that MTC intends to fulfil their mandate of improving the league. “Firstly, our stadiums are forever empty, and some of our games look as if teams have been banned to play without supporters.

“We must find out why people have lost the appetite to come to our stadiums, and we will therefore run surveys to engage supporters, and on that basis run a massive advertising campaign to win back the love of fans for the game.

“Secondly, we will ensure that at least one MTC premiership game is broadcast live on NBC TV per week. We must get to a point where we can sell advertising space to corporates who might not be interested in sponsoring football, lone-standing.”

Ekandjo further mentioned that MTC has invested in the necessary equipment to make this possible and will in the following weeks make a massive announcement about this investment.

“Despite all the shortcomings in our football, we remain committed to the game and many other sports codes, but we demand them to pull up their socks in the interest of the players and the supporters.

“Whenever you take decisions, always ask how it is in the best interest of the game, not your own personal interest,” Ekandjo said boldly.

In closing, Ekandjo tasked the NC to make a statement about when the Namibia Football Association (NFA) elections will take place.

“So my question to the NC is: What are you waiting for? Please clear the air in the interest of football because your silence only worsens matters.”

On the night, Black Africa were awarded the trophy for winning the NPL 2018/19 season. The top goal scorer and player of the season awards went to Issaskar Gurirab of Life Fighters.

The players' player of the season award was scooped by BA's Wesley Katjiteo. Coach of the season was won by head coach of BA, Paulus Shipanga. Referee of the season went to Nehemia Shooveleka, while the NPL assistant referee of the season was won by Matheus Nevonga.

A special award was also presented to African Stars supporters in the form of a trophy and an amount of N$100 000, for always filling the stadium when the team plays.

Top 8 Cup

Players were also presented with awards for their hard work during the Standard Bank Top 8 Cup. African Stars took home N$500 000, as the winners. Bobby Samaria won the coach of the tournament award (N$15 000), while Ratanda Mbazuvara, the goalkeeper of the tournament, received N$10 000 and Aubrey Amseb, the player of the tournament, received N$15 000.

Amseb, Tigers' Llewelyn Stanley and Salomon Amseb of Tura Magic shared the top goal scorer award and received N$5 000. Jonas Shongedi was the best referee of the tournament (N$5 000), while Matheus Nevonga was the best assistant referee and also scooped N$5 000.

Tigers received silver medals as well as N$250 000 for coming second, while Tura Magic and Black Africa - the semi-final losers - received N$125 000 each.