Let me start by applauding sports minister Agnes Tjongarero and her team at the ministry for taking a bold decision to appoint an independent six-member mediator committee, which has been tasked with investigating, swotting and coming up with recommendations that will finally bring closure to the endless infights that has crippled Namibian football.
The mediator committee will comprise Botswana’s veteran sport administrator Stanley Mutoya and locals Walter Don, Bro-Mathew Shinguadja, Roswitha Gomachas, Thomas Mbeel and Heritha Muyoba.
The committee was officially announced yesterday after the minister had directed the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) to set up an independent committee that will help resolve the football impasse between the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
For countless months now, football in Namibia has been at a standstill because of protracted boardroom fights between the NPL and NFA, and intervention from the NSC also proved worsened matters as the commission’s general conduct in the whole process led to public distrust. Had the NSC been allowed to further carry on with the task of resolving the NFA/NPL issue, we would have found ourselves in more court battles and prolonged wrangling.
That’s why I’m commending the minister and her team for dictating the dangers before it’s too late and for having the boldness to take the whole issue out of the NSC’s hands and giving it to an independent committee of highly diverse people.
We, as football stakeholders and the Namibian public at large, should now respectfully accord the newly-appointed mediator committee an opportunity to freely go about its business without any interference or harassment.
Equally to the NPL and NFA, they too should allow the mediator committee to freely execute their revered mandate of bringing lasting solutions to local football for the greater benefit of our stranded footballers and the many local vendors who would usually grace the stadiums on weekends to ply their trade.
My piece of advice to the minister and her leadership team is this; you now have a unique opportunity to bring about lasting solutions to local football and an opportunity to salvage the futures of hundreds of young football-playing Namibians – don’t let it pass you nor let it slip.
Not just that, but the ministry and the minister also finally has an opportunity to rearrange and redistribute the usually displaced balance of power. The ministry yesterday demonstrated that it is not only a financier and policy watchdog of local sports, but that it also has powers and authority to dictate the future of Namibian sports.
Whatever solutions the mediatory committee will come up with should be embraced and be seen in the context of moving football forward. There should be no expectations of winning or losing, but let’s all expect football to be the winner and that is by kicking off activities.
Also, whatever the outcome of the end process of the committee, the NPL leadership should be ready and willing to accept that outcome for the sake of progress and the same goes for the NFA, who many a time like shielding themselves with Fifa’s stance of no external interference.
It’s high time for Fifa to understand that the NFA is not an alien organisation, NO!! The NFA was established by Namibians, for Namibians and it, therefore, remains a public body of all Namibians. NFA was not established in Zurich, Switzerland and then given to Namibia for free to oversee, it is our federation and we collectively as Namibians will decide its destiny from Windhoek, not from Zurich. Until next time, sharp sharp!!