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NFA maintains hard-line stance on Afcon money

Jesse Kauraisa
Namibia Football Association (NFA) president Robert Shimooshili yesterday said it would be ‘reckless’ of the association to succumb to the demands of Brave Warriors players who are demanding the entire N$15 million prize money from the team’s participation in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

NFA is at loggerheads with several senior players, allegedly with muted instigation from some members of the technical team, over the prize money, which they claim is ‘theirs’.

The football association did not take kindly to the disgruntled players’ decision to rope controversial activist Michael Amushelelo into the matter.

NFA received the N$15 million from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after the team reached the last 16 of Afcon, held in January in Ivory Coast.

Shimooshili confirmed that the money has been paid directly to the association, and NFA is willing to give a portion to the players and the technical team to share among themselves. He said the association will never succumb to the players’ demands for all the money to be given to them.

“It would be reckless of us as the leadership of the NFA, a non-commercial entity that constantly begs for bailouts from government, to spend all the money to appease players,” he told Namibian Sun.

“The principle doesn’t change. If African Stars or Blue Waters win the league, does all the prize money go to players? NFA spent about N$13 million for the team to participate in Afcon - money which we didn’t have and was given to us by government. How can we forget so quickly, and what would government say when they see us knocking on their doors again because we gave away everything to players?”

‘Way off the mark’

Shimooshili further laughed off suggestions that the players’ demands are based on contracts they signed with NFA prior to the tournament.

A clause in the contract reads: “In case of sponsorships or rewards of any kind to the team during the tournament, the benefits shall be equally shared among the players and technical staff”.

He contended that the clause does not say ‘all’ of such income must be given away, and added that the money from CAF is neither a sponsorship nor a reward.

“What we got is prize money, and CAF expects this money to be used prudently by all associations. Nowhere did CAF say the money was for player salaries. Each association will assess its own situation and spend the money accordingly.”

Sources within NFA said the association is willing to give between N$4 million and N$5 million to players and technical members, adding that the N$7 million figure floating around is “way off the mark”.

The association plans to use part of the money to fix the NFA technical centre near Soccer House in Katutura. When fully restored, national team players will be training at the facility when in camp.

Players ‘sidelined’

Shimooshili said the NFA executive committee will convene in the coming days and pronounce itself on the matter.

“We appreciate what the players did at Afcon, so they will definitely get a portion from the prize money. But we will not be reckless to give away everything and start begging tomorrow. It’s also in the players’ benefit when NFA is able to honour its obligations, such as international matches which cost a lot of money.”

The NFA is alleged to have sidelined the rest of the team in the talks, communicating only with captain Peter Shalulile.

In an anonymous statement, a group of players said: “During the tournament, we were rewarded N$300 000 by PST Bet, which we shared equally amongst the players and technical staff, but now all of a sudden the NFA should benefit from our rewards. We just want our contracts to be honoured”.

The players argued that the development budget of N$124 million issued by government to the sport ministry should be diverted to infrastructure and not the money made from their sweat. Apart from football, the ministry looks after 55 other sport codes.

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Namibian Sun 2024-06-25

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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 322.68/OZ DOWN -0.0035 | Copper US$ 4.37/lb DOWN -0.0097 | Zinc US$ 2 883.90/T UP 1.06% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 85.40/BBP DOWN -0.0073 | Platinum US$ 988.42/OZ DOWN -0.0079