• February 18th, 2020

Football bonuses, a pretty kettle of fish

The ensuing brouhaha amidst the revelation of bonuses to be paid to the Brave Warriors travelling entourage to the 2019 Caf in the much adored historical pyramids of the Pharaohs, is two-fold.

Firstly, there’s nothing wrong rewarding athletes handsomely when representing the nation at august gatherings, but alas the fashion in which the figures became known is what raises suspicion amongst local football followers.

It’s common practice all over the world for sport federations to outline bonuses for their athletes ahead of major sporting events and yours truly finds it very strange that our football federation saw it fit to keep a tight lid on the perks allocated to the playing personnel, technical staff and team management.

Football is the most followed pastime in our diverse communities and the general public have a democratic right to be informed about the behind-the-scenes goings-on. After all, NFA is a public institution whose primary togetherness is sustained through public funds.

In normal structures, FA will call a press conference announcing the bonuses whilst outlining the precise figures pro rata. The moment you hide information from news consumers, it raises “legitimate” suspicion that you are up to something no good.

In all my years as a scribe, I’ve noticed a very nasty trend amongst sports administrators, notably when they start playing truant. 

My learned colleagues in blue suits at Football House are damn good at deliberately withholding vital information of public interest until the eleventh hour in order to avoid scrutiny. Many a time, they will just send out a press release without calling a media briefing to dodge potential embarrassment. 

Yours truly has been quietly following comments on social media with pundits castigating the entire exercise about the allocations of bonuses. As it stands, the real McCoy of the game, footballers, are left to pick up the pieces from the hefty N$14 million government windfall. 

How on earth can a kit guard or “equipment officer” as you prefer to call them, earn more than athletes? I’m just wondering. It would have been more appropriate to call a press conference and explain in detail certain issues contained in the budget such as call-up appearance fees for employees already on the FA pay roll.

Another bone of contention is the lump sum of N$19 million allocated by the portfolio ministry with N$14 million set aside for the Football Association (FA). It will be interesting to know why government could spend such an astronomical amount of money for travelling officials just to go and watch football in a foreign country, given the fragile prevailing financial crises amongst many a sporting discipline. I’m just wondering. 

It’s a well-documented secret that the national lower divisions are still idling as a result of insufficient funding and the custodians of sport still have the temerity to splash money on travelling officials.
There’s a saying that what is good for the goose must also apply to the gander. Let us be careful not to set a potentially unsustainable precedent because our national senior rugby fifteen, the Welwitschias will represent the land of the Brave at the IRB World Cup, later this year. 

Now, the fundamental question that needs to be raised is: will the oval ball game, the serial orphan of Namibian sport be accorded the same treatment or slightly better since they are launching their assault in the World Cup, the highest international honour in any sporting discipline? I rest my case.

Carlos Kambaekwa
2019-06-14 11:28:27 | 8 months ago

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