The harsh reality of local football

Hundreds of local football players are left wondering what will happen to their livelihoods if the football season does not kick off this year.

03 February 2020 | Sports

Namibian football is in a mess with certain local players now becoming vocal about what the situation means for their daily survival.

Two players who spoke to Namibian Sun Sports Desk said they don't know where their next meal will come from and that the rest of the players will probably return to their home towns and villages as they cannot afford to survive in the capital city if the situation regarding the absent league continues unresolved.



Players' woes

The players, who refused to be named because of fear of being victimised by the system, said this back-and-forth situation clearly shows that the two entities only have their own interests at heart, which means that they will continue to be at the bottom of the food chain.

One player who is also part of the Brave Warriors squad said most local clubs offer a monthly salary ranging from N$4 000 to N$6000.

“This however depends on which club you play for, who you are and how much they need you at the club.

“Now imagine earning that little and still sitting without pay for almost 10 months. Most of us are renting as clubs don't offer accommodation. We have to pay rent, feed ourselves and also our children. We play football with the hope of one day attracting a club outside the country to sign us.

“This is no longer a joke or a competition of who is smarter than the other. We are suffering,” said the player.

The player further said that most of his teammates have left the city, while others don't even turn up for practice anymore.

“I'm part of the Chan team as well. I'm trying my level best to stay fit for that competition because I have lost hope in the Namibia Premier League (NPL),” said the player.

The second player, who plays for a club in Windhoek, said his bank account was closed because of lack of money.

“I just want to play football and to better my life. Not all of us are academics. Football is my way out and the only way for me to raise my child.

“I meet these people who are running football matters in town. The same people walked past me several times without even a simple greeting. I think they fear that I will ask for money,” he added.

The player further said that football leaders have failed them. “If we keep on appointing the same people in different positions at the same entity, the situation will forever remain the same,” he added.

Outspoken sports pundit Olsen Kahiriri added that the vendors selling at the stadiums as well as the football supporters are also affected by the situation.

“This situation continues because of the egotistical leaders who are focused on their pockets. The Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC) was brought in to normalise football.

“However, it's worse than it was. Everyone wants to be the president of the association. They forget the position crippled the whole football institution. They know the players are vulnerable but the money mongers don't even have a blue print on how to solve the problem,” Kahiriri said.



What happened

The NC suspended the NPL for bringing football into disrepute with their persistent and continued disregard and violation of various directives from the Namibia Football Association (NFA) last year.

The suspension will remain until the next NFA congress which is slated for 22 February, unless the NPL leadership complies with all NFA directives, which could possibly see the suspension being lifted.

It does not look like this will happen any time soon though, as the NPL has already filed an urgent application in the High Court in an attempt to be reinstated and to stop an NFA extraordinary congress from taking place.

This is because the league claims it was suspended unlawfully.



Another twist

The NPL recently approached both the league's joint sponsors MTC and FNB Namibia with a proposal to have the league's existing sponsorship agreement turned into a tournament sponsorship agreement, with the envisioned tournament earmarked for the league's remaining 13 member clubs in March.

However, the main sponsor MTC rejected the proposition, leaving the NPL hanging.

LIMBA MUPETAMI

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