Club owners dig deep into their pockets

The NPL chairman is not the only football executive paying his staff from his own pocket – club owners are in the same predicament.

11 January 2017 | Sports

Just like NPL chairman Johnny Jonson Doeseb, who is said to have paid his staff from his own pocket, local football club owners are hard pressed to stay afloat.

Namibian Sun spoke to club executives to shed light on the operations of their clubs.

Tura Magic executive Isack Hamata said the running of a club from a financial perspective is not easy.

“We spend between N$80 000 and N$90 000 per month, so we spend more than our income and the question is, where does the income come from?”, he said.

The football fraternity is abuzz about Doeseb's decision to pay the premier league's staff with his own money, as reported in a local daily last week.

According to Hamata, Tura Magic has a responsibility towards its players, just like Doeseb has towards those he has hired at the NPL.

“Just like JJD who took money out of his pocket because he has a responsibility towards those people that he hired at NPL, we also have a responsibility towards the players, and it is not easy but you have signed a contract so you must honour that and when we let players go it is because we cannot afford them,” he said.

Hamata said he and his partners knew from the outset what they were getting themselves into, and since day one they had to fork out money to keep the club running.

“You only have a pool of income that is this much yet your expenditure is more than what you are getting in, so we knew that from the get go when we started that you must be realistic as you are not going to win the league or cup but at least you can keep players and can put bread on their table and can still compete on the field of play,” he said.

He said the club decided to keep salaries low, as the football structures in the country also do not allow huge salaries. The running of a football club becomes too taxing for some, who opt to walk away and sell their clubs. According to Hamata he and his partners too had thoughts of packing it in, but had always considered the future of the players.

Citizens Football Club co-owner David Goagoseb concurred with Hamata. “Most of the time the grant we get is not enough, and most of the time we have to add money for the travelling and accommodation and that comes from our pockets,” he said.

“We have been in this game for so many years and there are times that you have to sacrifice your children at home and spend the last money that you had on the club's activities,” he said.

Although Citizens are not paying their players full salaries now because of the absence of the league, Goagoseb said they were assisting their players to take care of their needs.

One of the country's big guns, African Stars, are not exempt from the challenges faced by other club owners. According to the team's director, Brian Makari, the grant they receive is not enough and they rely on individuals to pump in money into the club.

“The grant that we get is not enough at all so most of the time we must get something from somewhere else that has to be from the pockets because clubs do not have sponsors and I believe most of the clubs get money from individuals and in our case we get money from individuals,” he said.

Makari said despite the challenges, Stars continued to take care of their players.

“We have been paying our players and we have also been paying our players' medical aid,” he said.

One of the biggest clubs in Namibia, Orlando Pirates, is still unable to pay its players, while Black Africa released its players and coaching staff last year as the financial crisis in football started to bite.

KAINO NGHITONGO

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