Namibia: NPL On Chopping Block

The country's football landscape may undergo a massive transformation on 18 July if the Namibia Football Association goes through with a motion to expel the Namibia Premier League as a member.

Should congress pass the motion, a new top-flight division may have to be commissioned as requested by several NPL clubs wanting to leave.

Unrepentant, the NPL is steadfast in its belief that the NFA grossly erred and is pushing ahead to seek 'justice' at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The NPL, whose suspension in October last year for insubordination and "bringing football into disrepute" was upheld at the NFA's elective congress in February, is not on the guest list at the NFA extraordinary congress in Windhoek.

"No, the NPL is still suspended. It's the prerogative of the NFA to invite," said NPL chief executive officer Harald Fuelle when asked whether the league would be part of tomorrow's proceedings.

" . . . the NPL maintains that the current suspension is illegal, as per NFA constitution, the reason why the NPL appealed to CAS," he said.

In April, NFA president Ranga Haikali said expulsion would be the "last resort" in the long-running dispute which awaits a CAS ruling.

With the NPL digging in, that outcome appears to be the NFA's next play. That will not be game down though, as CAS' take on the matter could yet void the expulsion.

"Hopefully people will come to their senses and follow the directives before the NPL is expelled. Yes or no. If no, then the option we have is expulsion," Haikali said before calling for the extraordinary congress.

With a backlog of disputes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, CAS' verdict may be months away, and the country can ill afford to continue having its football grounded for much longer.

Livelihoods have been destroyed, the public is restless and investors are increasingly uneasy about associating with warring football warlords.

"People want to see football and not politics. Let arrogance leave the field," MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo said last week when announcing they would revive the FA Cup with N$19,8 million spread over the next three years.

At the occasion, Haikali promised an end to the impasse and to restart the game.

That end could mean eight clubs, frustrated with the Patrick Kauta-led NPL executive committee's crusade against the NFA, could get their wish to form a breakaway elite division.

The clubs - Blue Waters, Julinho Sporting, Mighty Gunners, Orlando Pirates, Tigers, Civics, Citizens and Young African - have repeatedly distanced themselves from all court cases brought against the NFA by the 16-team NPL.

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