What a balls-up!

The NPL will kick off today, despite unresolved issues around clubs, and a seeming lack of decisive leadership.

09 November 2018 | Sports

The Namibia Premier League (NPL) is being haunted by confusion and uncertainty.

It still remains unclear whether the players will kick a ball today, even though league administrators have promised that the fixtures will go ahead this weekend.

The league received a combined N$20 million in sponsorship on Wednesday from MTC and FNB.

However, there are unresolved issues, with Tigers threatening not to honour their fixtures against Okahandja United, and uncertainty hovering over whether Young African will feature this season.

Young African have challenged their suspension by applying for an urgent court interdict.

This follows a recommendation by NPL prosecutor Kadhila Amoomo that the Gobabis outfit be suspended for the season for allegedly fielding a Zimbabwean player last season by using false documentation.

Young African head coach Mali Ngarizemo said the recommendation goes beyond the NPL regulations.

He argued the league should be postponed, pending the matter being finalised, and that Young African should not be removed from the league fixtures.

Tigers have expressed their disappointment with the way NPL affairs are being handled when troubling issues arise. They were referring to the ongoing saga involving Military School/Okahandja United.

The Namibia Defence Force (NDF) top brass is disputing the purported transfer of ownership of Military School to the Okahandja community, as well as a name change to Okahandja United, so the club could play in the NPL this season, as Mighty Gunners, also owned by the NDF, is already active in the league.

In a letter addressed to league chairman Patrick Kauta, Tigers highlighted loopholes in an NPL statute.

“You and your entire executive committee members decided to dock points from us while we were not found guilty of any misconduct by Mr S. Makondo, the NPL prosecutor for the 2017/2018 season, and your conduct was not done in terms of any legal instrument. Furnish us with a statute for ease of reference if any,” the letter reads.

“Whereas article 64… states that promotion and relegation to and from the Namibia Premier League from the first division will be in accordance with the NFA manual on rules and regulations.

“Whereas the NFA manual on rules and regulations, article 3, sub-article 3.1.2 reads: 'The club finishing in the three bottom positions of the premier division will be automatically relegated to the first division'.

“Sub-article 3.2.2 reads that: 'three clubs winning the leagues in all the first division streams will be automatically promoted to the premier league,” Tigers said further.

They said the use of the name Military School/Okahandja United on the league fixtures list was “a disguise” on the part of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) to mask the real intent to circumvent article 18.3 of the NFA statute that prohibits the dual ownership of teams in the same league, considering that Mighty Gunners are owned by the defence ministry, which also owns Military School.

In the letter, Tigers also highlighted that allowing the league to start with one or more members whose legal tenure in the league is suspect, further exposes them to the risk of mid-season problems, which will do more harm to the image and brand of the NPL.

“In view of the above, you are advised to consider the ramifications of starting a league season with a cloud hovering over the heads of some of its members.

“If you choose to do nothing, you might be seen as actively promoting constitutional manipulation and delinquency to achieve interests that are not necessarily those of the NPL and its members, in this case Tigers,” the club said.

NPL administrator Tovey Hoebeb said the league will go ahead, unless it is decided otherwise.

“Yes, the games will be played, but there are still many issues that need to be ironed out. It will all depend on what happens between today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today),” Hoebeb added.

LIMBA MUPETAMI and JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

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