Namibia: Football Trapped in Eternal Tragicomedy Loop

15 October 2021
editorial

What Namibia's football fraternity lack in competence and cohesion, they make up for in letter writing and court action.

It seems like 110 letters have been flying between world football governing body Fifa, the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and its previously, or is it currently, suspended executive members and their president, just to ascertain who may or may not write letters or who is suspended or not suspended, who is relegated; who is allowed to play, and who is accused of corruption.

And on Monday, they will start the process again from scratch. It is nauseating. It is boring. It is enough now. When the new leadership entered Soccer House, Namibian football fans, players, clubs, sponsors and the government received them with the enthusiasm fans greet a brand new superstar signing for their football club.

But the first time the player got onto the field and received a glorious through pass with an open goal in front of him, he took an unceremonious, unprovoked dive with no one near him.

Theatrically flinging his arms in the air, he kicked his own ankle and dove face-first into the grass, hoping to win a penalty. But the referee waved play on, and now the player is arguing with his own two boots. The inability of football's leadership to do the basics have cost the country dearly.

Because our stadia are not up to international standards, we have to play home games in South Africa. What an embarrassment. These officials should have worked with the government and the City of Windhoek to fix the pitch of the Sam Nujoma Stadium, upgrade the dressing rooms, and install individual seats and sufficient toilets for the fans.

Instead, Namibia has spent more money to host Congo and Senegal at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg than it would actually cost to upgrade the Sam Nujoma Stadium at around N$2 million.

After all, the Sam Nujoma Stadium is Namibian football's home. And the NFA had ample time to address its shortcomings. A basic requirement for leaders is to find timeous solutions for problems.

If the big bosses of Namibian football can just put their egos aside for a while, Namibia could have functioning leagues to provide national coaches with an opportunity to tap into the best talent.

But the bosses have money for lawyers, and will spend it. Because of these litigious letter writers, organised football has come to a standstill in recent years.

In the last five years, Namibian football has had more court cases than league champions. It is sickening. Do these feuding football officials even remember what they started fighting about?

The problem is there is not much anyone can do about it. Government cannot even hint at suggesting solutions and Fifa, who also failed to provide solutions, will ban the country from participating in any of its programmes for as long as it wants; we can't recall the cabal who were ousted by the current leadership because there were worse allegations against them; fans and clubs can't recall or remove the officials they sent to Soccer House because the ownership structure and the legal existence of clubs are just as questionable as the motives and ability of the NFA's current leadership.

It is time for football officials to do the right thing and stop writing letters, to vacate the office so that more mature and professional people can start organising football in well-equipped stadia for the fans, and not for themselves in the courts.

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