Local football fans have welcomed the return of top-flight football, saying the nation has been yearning to watch it for the longest time.
This comes after the Namibia Football Association (NFA) on Wednesday released the first fixture of the premier league, which will see African Stars and Unam clash at the Dr Hage Geingob stadium on Sunday.
Shishongo Sherif, who supports Rundu Chiefs, couldn’t contain his excitement and said the return of football will also create
direct job opportunities.
“I am happy that football will start this weekend. We have gone for a timeframe of three years without football, and this weekend finally the narrative will change. At least we would now look forward to weekends more because you know one will be able to spend time at the stadium, connecting with other people,” he told New Era Sport.
Shipapo Phineas said he is overwhelmed by the commitment that the Normalisation Committee (NC) has made to get football started, adding that football will not just bring players back to the field, but will also unite the nation.
“I want to congratulate the NC for the job they did to bring back football. This is what we have been waiting for as fans and the nation at large. This actually means a lot because Namibians are united by sports, which is good for the nation. This will also create job opportunities for small businesses,” he reasoned.
Julinho Sporting fan Alexander Bratoz is likewise excited, especially since players will now get their livelihoods back.
“I am so happy that football is finally returning. People will be getting their jobs back so that they are able to feed their families and restore dignity. This is also a lesson that heading forward, we need to learn how to manage everything well so that we don’t end up where we were,” he emphasised.
“Football returning also means the national team will have good players in the team, which will assist their performances in international competitions,” he added.
The return of the elite league was made possible through a sponsorship of N$13 million by Debmarine Namibia last week. The mining company allocated N$8 000 000 towards clubs as start-up grants, while prize money amounts to N$2 580 000. Namibian football came to a standstill at the end of the 2018-2019 season after the Namibia Premier League refused to adhere to a Namibia Football Association (NFA) instruction not to relegate Civics and Orlando Pirates at the end of that season along with Young African. This led to protracted legal squabbles between the NFA and NPL leadership in the High Court, then Supreme Court, and later the Court for Arbitration in Sport in Switzerland. The impasse saw MTC withdraw its premier league sponsorship in July 2020 when matters were still not resolved.
The match starts at 17h00, and gates open at 13h00. Entry costs N$30.