First National Bank (FNB) Namibia’s three-year N$15 million sponsorship deal with suspended Namibia Premier League (NPL) officially came to an end on Tuesday, 30 June 2020, and reliable sources have informed this publication that the bank is now considering diverting their sponsorship to the country’s First Division.
The Namibia First Division (NFD) comprises the three streams; namely, the North East Stream First Division (NESFD), the North West Stream First Division (NWSFD) and the Southern Stream First Division (SSFD). Each of the three streams consists of a 12-team league.
The NFD is the second-highest football tier in Namibia behind the NPL and it is organised by the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and since late 2009, the NFD has been held under the umbrella of the NPL.
This week Tuesday officially marked the end of FNB’s relationship with NPL after the bank’s three-year N$15 million sponsorship deal with the league lapsed without the players having to kick the ball for the awaited 2019/20 season due to ongoing boardroom politics between the NPL and NFA.
In 2017, FNB and MTC signed a N$20 million combined sponsorship agreement with NPL, which saw MTC as principal sponsor coming on board with N$15 million per season and FNB co-sponsoring the league with N$5 million per annum over the three years.
Last month, New Era Sport reported that the bank was seriously reconsidering and weighing various options around its sponsorship with NPL, especially given the current excruciating state of football in the country.
This publication also reported that with the closing of its books for the just-ended 2019/20 fiscal year at 30 June 2020, FNB was going to automatically withdraw its remaining N$5 million sponsorship to the league intended for the 2019/20 season, which is yet to start.
For its part, MTC already indicated that it will not renew nor extend its relationship with the league when its financial year comes to an end in September this year.
Further digging this author has since brought to the fore that the bank has no plans of parting ways with football entirely and was now considering diverting their sponsorship to the country’s needy First Division, which has not played football for past few seasons due to lack of funds.
The inactivity of the First Division has since made it impossible for the NPL to operate smoothly as no teams can be promoted to the NPL and no relegation to the NFD can take place as all structures are dormant.
Contacted for comment yesterday, FNB’s sponsorship and promotions manager Gordon Pokolo could not confirm nor deny, saying the bank was still in talks with both the NFA and the NPL and once a decision is reached the media and public will be duly informed.
“I really can’t say anything at this point because we are still in talks with both parties but once a decision is made in days to come, a statement will be issued to that effect. So, it will really be too premature for me to say anything at this point in time,” said Pokolo.