WINDHOEK – Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Agnes Tjongarero yesterday rubbished perceptions and various media reports portraying the line ministry as being in favour of Namibia Football Association (NFA) president Frans Mbidi in his ongoing squabbles with the association’s secretary general Barry Rukoro.
Speaking in the National Assembly on the last day of Parliament for the year under review, Tjongarero expressed her concern with reports and rumours insinuating that government is in favour of Mbidi and wants Rukoro booted out in the ongoing melee that has swamped the NFA.
The battle of egoism and pride between Rukoro and Mbidi has already robbed the country’s youth of a lifetime opportunity to represent Namibia at the 2020 Olympics Games as well as at this year’s Cosafa U/20 Cup after it was alleged that Mbidi had refused to sign off money to fund the Olympic team’s trip to the qualifiers.
The Olympics team’s financial request to Mbidi came through the NFA secretariat as customary but as a result of their ongoing grumble, Mbidi refused to attend to the team’s request saying that Rukoro is not recognised by Fifa and thus should not be allowed to administer NFA money nor be spearheading the secretariat.
As for the U/20’s, their 2018 Cosafa Cup dreams were crashed under the same hammer of the Rukoro/Mbidi saga, although the association loosely pointed to lack of funds as the major stumbling for the Cosafa team.
A few weeks ago, the Sport Ministry tasked the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) to investigation NFA affairs, especially the earlier sacking of Mbidi as president. The NSC investigation found that Mbidi’s dismissal by the NFA Executive Committee was illegal, invalid and the whole process leading up to his sacking was flawed, as due process was not followed.
Thus, based on the NSC investigation, the line ministry advised and recommended that Mbidi be reinstated as president and the matter be resolved through NFA’s internal structures. The ministry, according to the NSC report, concluded that Mbidi was also never granted an opportunity to state his case.
“We have taken note of media reports stating that we (the ministry) is in favour or favouring Mbidi but we as a ministry are not allowed to get that involved. When we tasked the Sports Commission, our intention was to try and help and what we did was to advise and recommend to the NFA. We even explained why we felt Mbidi should be reinstated because procedures were not followed. We are not in favour of Mbidi or Rukoro,” said Tjongarero, as she was responding to various questions posed by members of the August House.
National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) veteran president Asser Mbai commended Tjongarero for priding clarity and said he hoped that the NFA will soon be unchained from the enduring scuffle for the sake of the country’s youth.