We want our money, Gladiators cry

The financial issues at the NFA have been well documented in recent times, but the Brave Gladiators of Namibia say they are just after what is owed to them.

26 November 2021 | Sports

Limba Mupetami







WINDHOEK

The Namibian Football Association (NFA) owes the Namibian women’s team, the Brave Gladiators, wages for matches played, amongst other fees. The players have now formed a coalition to fight the NFA tooth and nail until they are paid, claiming that no one cares about them, what they eat and how they survive outside the corridors of the association.

The majority of the players in the squad are unemployed or students, with a few employed either privately or by the Namibian Defence Force.

Some have now decided to quit the national team indefinitely, whether their wages are paid or not.

One of the seniors, well-respected player and former captain, Zenatha Coleman - who plies her trade for Sevilla in Spain - has been very vocal about the non-payment issue and used Twitter to state that she will always be the voice of the players, even if she is no longer captain.

“They have done their job, won away and home games in the qualifiers [African Women Cup of Nations] and still haven’t gotten paid. If the girls can’t be paid, then why is there a national team?” she asked.

She added that players face victimisation if they speak out. “The thing is most girls out there are scared to speak, you know, and that is really a big problem too.”

Toxic

Another senior player, Annushka Kordom, said the conditions within the NFA are toxic and she is retiring from national football.

“How they treat the Gladiators, it's just not working for us any more. The NFA does not like us going to the media but, personally, I’ve protected them for too long. From here on out, I speak my truth.”

The footballer added that there is about a pool of 30 players who are owed wages.

“They owe me about N$35 000. That amount goes for all starts and coming in from the bench to play for about five games. Some players are owed N$30 000, others between N$20 000 and N$27 000,” she said.

A third player – who preferred to remain anonymous - said they haven’t been paid camping fees and have been training from 7 September.

“Imagine being a woman in camp for more than a month. Some of us are not employed. Some took unpaid leave and didn’t receive a cent from the NFA,” she said.

Long time coming

Further adding to the NFA’s money woes, yet another player, who refused to be named but is backing the current players in their wages crusade, said the association owes her money too for being in camp when the Gladiators played in Angola.

“Till today, no payments received. I have written it off as bad debt not recovered,” she said.

She added that there are many former players owed by the old leadership.

When asked about the outstanding wages, NFA secretary-general Franco Cosmos said there is no money to pay players with.

He said Fifa has halted finances to the association. This after association president Ranga Haikali called into question certain requests made to the global football organisation by the NFA.

Cosmos added that all national teams are owed wages, while the NFA’s service providers have also not been paid.

“There is a restriction on funding. This will most probably only be resolved in the first week of December when Fifa visits again,” he explained. He added that under his tenure, he paid all players and teams and didn’t owe anyone a cent.

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