Namibia: Normalisation Committee Clears the Air

THE Fifa Normalisation Committee for Namibia's chairperson Hilda Basson Namundjebo on Wednesday said they have no legal instrument to address Young African's demotion appeal, and also distanced the interim body from a controversial statement doing the rounds on social media regarding the outcome of a consultative meeting at Mariental over the weekend.

The NC and the Namibia Premier League held talks on Tuesday over both issues, she said. The NC has written to Fifa for direction on Young African's appeal to have an NPL disciplinary committee decision which demoted them to the first division reversed.

Basson Namundjebo's position vetoes that of her deputy Franco Cosmos, who last week wrote to the NPL, instructing them to reinstate Young African to resume a premiership season that is past the halfway stage.

The NPL dismissed that instruction, saying it was a "misconceived contention" that has "no substance or merit".

Earlier this year, Young African twice had their case struck off the High Court roll over technicalities before seeking refuge with the normalisation committee.

Prior to that, NFA secretary general Isaskar Barry Rukoro redirected the club to the Court of Arbitration for Sport due to the absence of "a properly constituted judicial body in place", as the association is without an elected leadership.

"We don't have a legal body to deal with appeals. You must have congress to establish such a committee. We asked Fifa if they can grant us permission to set up an appeals body in our capacity as the normalisation committee, for which we are waiting for a response," Basson Namundjebo told The Namibian Sport.

"We can't make decisions on the Young African issue or any other dispute, as this can be challenged in court," she reinforced.

Young African were banished from the top-flight on 21 January after the NPL disciplinary committee found the club guilty of registering and then fielding Zimbabwean national Simon Tapiwa Musekiwa, using a forged passport in 28 of their 30 league matches last season.

Musekiwa, who masqueraded as compatriot Albert Mujikijera, has since been deported after immigration denied him a renewal for a work visa.

Furthermore, Basson Namundjebo said they "have no idea" about the origins of a statement, which has caused public consternation, attributed to Southern Stream First Division chairperson Kenneth Gaoseb, claiming that the present top-flight was called off, and that no promotion or relegation of teams to and from the premiership would take place.

Instead, the hoax proclamation stated that "additional clubs will be added to the Premier League" next season, which would kick off for all divisions in August.

The first and second divisions are presently inactive. However, the decision to suspend league action can only be effected by an NFA executive.

"That message is not true. I spoke to Kenneth, and he told me he did not write it. He's investigating where it came from", Basson Namundjebo said.

The NPL on Wednesday said they remain fully operational.

"The league would like to assure all its stakeholders that all league operations for the 2018/19 MTC Premiership season continue as planned, and are not in any way moved by the alleged changes," public relations officer Andre Gariseb said.

There is, however, worryingly still no indication of whether the second and third-tier leagues will be played this season.

"We have formed a task force to work out modalities for the first and second divisions. It consists of Bonnie Paulino and Harald Fuelle from the NPL, and Franco Cosmos and Matti Mwandingi from the normalisation committee. We will make an announcement with regard to the way forward once that process has been finalised," noted Basson Namundjebo.

The much-anticipated Mariental consultative meeting, held on the sidelines of The Namibian Newspaper Cup, primarily addressed issues of governance of all 22 NFA members, who were all represented.

Only five members "are in good standing", with the rest given a month to get their houses in order or risk being frozen out of the NFA elections, for which a date has not been set yet.

They will be provided funding through Fifa for this exercise, Basson Namundjebo said.

"Some members have no constitutions, and some people have been in positions for about 20 years, with no elections. This is a desperate situation, which is why we requested Fifa for an extension because we will not be able to complete our mandate by the end of May," she added.

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