11 January 2019

Namibia: FIFA Moves to Fix NFA

The winds of change are sweeping across the Namibian football landscape, with Wednesday's news that Fifa would install a normalisation committee to run its troubled affiliate until a new leadership is elected.

Gone is the bungling NFA executive committee, including president Frans Mbidi, whose term expired at the beginning of December, with infamous secretary general Barry Rukoro the only 'active' remnant of an administration that has long lost public faith and been seen as the Achilles Heel of the people's game.

The Bureau of the Fifa Council decided to appoint a normalisation committee for the Namibia Football Association (NFA), in accordance with articles 8 and 14 of the Fifa statutes following the recent visit of a Fifa delegation to Namibia to assess the NFA.

The normalisation committee will run the NFA's daily affairs; to ensure that members of the NFA, whose executive committees are out of mandate, organise and conduct relevant elections; and once elections have been held at member level, to organise and conduct elections of a new NFA executive committee.

The normalisation committee will be assembled by Fifa in consultation with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and relevant Namibian stakeholders as soon as possible.

During last year's visit, Fifa found that "there are two factions within the NFA that are irreconcilable, and that this situation is adversely affecting football as a whole".

Additionally, Fifa conducted a forensic audit since there seemed to be "several occurrences of financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest at the NFA", which subsequently led to the move to intervene.

"The bureau took note that this situation of paralysis has even resulted in the cancellation of football matches because the NFA could not pay for expenses," Fifa added.

All members of the normalisation committee must pass an eligibility check to be carried out by the Fifa review committee, while Fifa reserves the right to revoke the mandate of the members of the normalisation committee, and to appoint further members at any time.

The normalisation committee will act as an electoral committee, and none of its members will be eligible for any of the positions in the elections.

The normalisation committee will perform its functions until it has fulfilled all of its tasks, but no later than 31 May.

Following Fifa's visit in December, sports minister Erastus Uutoni, who also met with the world football governing body's representatives, expressed satisfaction and optimism over the future of the game domestically.

At the time, Uutoni said they had "fruitful" talks with Fifa regarding proposals around governance.

That Fifa granted Rukoro, whose employment status was bound to the term of the executive committee which this year twice extended his role as NFA secretariat head, a stay of execution, is, however, perplexing given that they, in October, communicated that the long-serving official was not recognised as NFA SG.

Also in October, football's world governing body, Fifa, reversed a decision by the NFA executive committee, under the perceived influence of Rukoro, to impeach Mbidi.

Rukoro's never-ending war with Mbidi , exacerbated by the former's refusal to 'go quietly' following the end of his employment contract in March, is the chief reason for the NFA's present mess.

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