Amidst high expectations following the live announcement on national television (NBC) that the country’s elite football league, the Namibia Premier League (NPL), would finally come out of its self-imposed hiatus of almost 18 months – the grapevine now has it that the eagerly awaited kick-off date, 13 October 2017, might not materialize. Yours truly has been reliably informed that the newly appointed NPL hierarchy is ostensibly backtracking on its earlier half-hearted announcement that league activities are to start in the second week of next month. For starters, the announcement of the much-anticipated NPL kick-off was made in unfamiliar fashion on national television, as opposed to the tradition of launching the league, whereby the draw for the league fixtures is conducted in a transparent manner under the watchful eyes of media practitioners, club officials and the league’s principal sponsors. There’s an old saying that one should not put the cart before the horse, but it looks like some of these well-known historic adages are alien to football administrators, so to speak. One would have expected my learned colleagues serving on the newly appointed NPL executive to call a press conference, outlining their blueprint and of course, reveal in full detail their terms of reference in simple layman’s language during their tenure in office. Surely it cannot be business as usual after the stormy weather in which domestic football gravely struggled to wangle its way out of troubled waters, even though the financially crippled football league has been ultimately thrown another lifeline, albeit with permanent scars. There are four crucial components that are very much in short supply amongst football leaders and administrators, so to speak. These are: integrity, accountability, transparency, and morals and ethics. Up to this day, teams and the general public are still in the dark about the NPL’s potential financial backers and what the contractual agreement obligations require in terms of compliance. I’m just wondering. History will guide us to study and scrutinize contractual obligations stored in a stack of documents with the utmost care, and proposed amendments, if need be, if we are to avoid situations where sponsors are accorded too much leverage during negotiations. These seemingly never-ending shenanigans all boil down to serial non-compliance with basic rules guiding our togetherness. Yours truly is not oblivious that some clubs are under the care of owners who spent enormous amounts of moolah to sustain their respective clubs, but alas, these particular clubs are competing in league structures owned by the public and this is where we have to make a distinction and draw a line between club ownership and league ownership. The game of football is not a private entity – it’s a public institution and should be treated as such. Let those in charge of our football open up and be transparent in the discharge of their designated functions with regard to the game. The moment football followers are deliberately kept in the dark, they are likely going to disown football, which is surely a nasty practice that might not exactly augur well for the ultimate well-being of our ailing pastime and more importantly, the real McCoys of the game – the athletes and sponsors. My humble advice to my learned colleagues in blue suits: make damn sure you are armed to the teeth before the much-adored spherical object gets rolled. Before I sign off, please treat your subjects with a certain measure of respect and trust in terms of information sharing. I rest my case.
2017-09-29 11:15:04 11 months ago