The circus continues

19 August 2019 | Sports

Limba Mupetami

The Namibia Premier League (NPL) is a circus. I'm sure everyone knows that by now.

Firstly, we are forced to go and watch football in half-empty stadiums because of poor marketing, amongst other things. Now the relegation issue seems like a screaming child who does not want to be put to bed.

In addition to the relegation saga, last Thursday, eight clubs asked league chairperson Patrick Kauta to step down, as they have no confidence in his leadership.

Champions Black Africa, Tigers, Mighty Gunners, Julinho Sporting, Citizens, demoted Young African and relegated Orlando Pirates and Civics, together with NPL exco member Victor Hamunyela, held a joint media conference to address what they termed Kauta's dictatorship tendencies.

Idi 'The Butcher' Amin was the name thrown around to describe the NPL chairperson's alleged leadership style.

We are in for a ride. Kauta, in turn, refused to step down and elaborated on what Fifa meant when it spoke on Namibia's promotion/relegation mess.

“It means that there will be no relegation or promotion for the upcoming 2019/20 season and the endorsement has no bearing on the past 2018/19 season,” he said.

That's Kauta's interpretation and everyone else has been reading it wrong all along, according to him.

He claims that Fifa said the 'no relegation rule' will not apply for the past season, but for the upcoming one.

Kauta claims that people did not understand what Fifa meant. When I heard this, I was dumbfounded as well. Kauta claims Fifa should have rather said that clubs should be 'readmitted' into the new season, if it wanted Orlando Pirates and Civics to participate in the upcoming season.

He of course said Fifa's “error” has nothing to do with English or its choice of words, but that's what the letter in fact says.

I'm truly stunned. Football is supposed to be a great game, and its dealings should be associated with goodness. But we have managed to turn it into a warzone.

In some countries it has become a money-making, get-rich-quick industry. But those who are supposed to benefit - the players - don't actually get to enjoy the privileges.

In other countries and football associations, bribery and whatever else is also the norm. Namibia is a different story on its own - the number-one pastime being infighting, egocentrism and a whole load of misunderstandings and

confusion.

Individuals are playing football in boardrooms. I suppose for those who enjoy football politics, sipping tea has never tasted better; because all they need to do is grab a cup and the NPL drama will do the rest.

I get it; Fifa announced themselves on the matter through its normalisation committee (NC). They are the highest power in local football until a new Namibia Football Association (NFA) national executive is voted in.

But nobody is listening to the NC, as they feel that their purpose is to sit in an office and do nothing but make other people's lives miserable - in this case the life of the NPL.

But the NC is endorsed by Fifa, which is the world governing body for football affairs.

At a media conference a while back, an associate of Fifa said the global body is stronger and more influential than the United Nations.

What does that tell you? What will the next repercussions from Fifa be if the shenanigans continue here in Namibia?

Those now making decisions will go back to their daily jobs or join other sports leagues and continue making noise. Who suffers then? Of course the players.

I can never side with one party against another in this drama. I want football to win at the end of the day.

I want whoever is Fifa-endorsed to announce themselves on when the premier league should start, followed by the second and third divisions, provided that funds are available.

Until then, the circus continues. Because the relegated clubs are counting on Fifa's 'no relegation' decision and feel that they should be included in this season's fixtures. The NPL, however, feels they are not special and that they will not bend the rules for anyone, so now we will have 13 clubs this year in the league.

My question now is: Who do we listen to? Fifa or the NPL?

It seems as if everyone is reading from a different rule book and believe they have the perfect interpretation about what should happen.

My instinct tells me there will be no premier league kicking off soon. This means that we will be called to media conferences to act as mediators between people who get paid to do their jobs.

We will then be accused of not reporting satisfactorily, because one camp is not happy with what was said or not said.

We are taught to be impartial and impartial we shall be. But how? Do we recuse ourselves from the drama, until an agreement is reached?

Do we continue to inform our beloved readers about the unfolding drama week in and week out? Or do we boycott media conferences dealing with the NPL and its associates? Where do we, as journalists, decide enough is enough? Or do we continue to be a mouthpiece for uncertainty and confusion, specially brewed in Namibia?



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