Whether or not the envisaged Namibia Premier Football League (NPFL) – which is a breakaway league planned to replace the expelled Namibia Premier League (NPL) – will start next month remains unclear and is an issue that has deeply divided the leadership of the Namibia Football Association (NFA).
The NFA executive committee held its meeting over the weekend to iron out and rubberstamp various pending issues holding back the return of domestic football – and chief among the many issues discussed was the start of the NPFL, which was initially earmarked to start on 17 April.
As of yesterday, the NFA media desk released a statement, stating that the NPFL and all other national leagues affiliated to the NFA will only start with their season in August this year, but the MTC NFA Cup will, however, commence with its preliminary round on 17 April. The upcoming MTC NFA Cup will see all NPFL clubs, the three first divisions and the 14 second divisions returning to action next month as they also prepare for league football to commence in August 2021, stated the NFA media desk.
NFA president Ranga Haikali was also quoted by the association’s media desk, saying: “The MTC NFA Cup will help us transit to a new well set season of football that will start in August – and therefore, it is important that we do things in a certain way to achieve the objective of well-prepared leagues.”
Haikali also said with the transitional season starting next month with the MTC NFA Cup will help the NFA to fully implement FIFA’s E-Connect system for players’ registration.
“Once we have this system in place and everyone understands it, then can we go take on a full season. The time frames are now realistic and we are confident we can achieve the target,” said Haikali.
But an earlier press statement, also released by the NFA media desk yesterday morning, contradicted Haikali, as it stated that the MTC NFA Cup, along with all other national leagues under the NFA will start parallel on 17 April.
This is a position that was also backed by NFA secretary general Franco Cosmos, who went on to contradict his president by saying that all leagues countrywide and the MTC NFA Cup will start next month – and not in August as communicated by Haikali.
“All the leagues and the MTC NFA Cup preliminary rounds will kick off on 17 April 2021. All 14 Second Divisions and the three First Division Streams will play preliminary rounds on 17 April 2021 to determine the round of 32 for MTC NFA Cup. The NPFL will kick off on the 17 April 2021 and the other leagues will follow thereafter,” said Cosmos as he outright contradicted Haikali, whose plans are to start the NPFL in August and not in April.
The embarrassing contradictions between the NFA president and his secretary general follow hot on the heels of reported tensions between Haikali and Cosmos, who are said to be in a frosty relationship due to external influence.