This week the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) officially recognised the Namibia Premier League (NPL) as a sports body responsible for promoting and regulating all forms of professional football in the country.
The news was somewhat received with mixed emotions from various quarters of the local football fraternity, with some saying it is indeed a beautiful new beginning for Namibian football as a whole and a bold step towards professionalising our local game.
Others frowned upon the news, saying the newly-recognised NPL will eventually die a quick death before it even moves out of the starting blocks, and that it is nothing but another over glorified project by the Patrick Kauta-led league to further bolster their egos and authority.
But depending on which end of the table you are seated, such divergent views are always to be expected and should not in any way be viewed as a declaration of war on anyone.
I have maintained and argued on multiple occasions and in many of my writings that there must come a point where Namibian football will professionalise and that point is now, and starts with the recognition of the NPL as a sports body for professional football.
My strong stance on professionalising local football and using the NPL as a wagon to realise that very important dream earned me many enemies along the way, and my persona had to endure countless insults as a result.
In fact, I was labelled a tribalist and a sell-out by some imprudent self-anointed ‘football gurus’ for saying Namibian football can only reach greater heights by going professional with the NPL, as opposed to starting a new league with a fragile foundation to carry us through.
The mafia-like ‘football gurus’ rejected the idea because they felt and continue to feel that such a move would potentially spoil their ill-gotten bread and butter and devalue their access to Football House.
But as an upright man who draws inspiration from many peerless personalities of yesteryear, let me hasten and remind those ‘football gurus’ in the wise words of renowned French poet and novelist Victor Hugo, who cautioned us by saying: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”.
And indeed, the idea of a professional NPL is here and within our midst. It has been recognised as a sports body for professional football and not even the God of the heavens can stand in the way of an idea of a professional NPL - because the idea’s time has come and that time is now.
What needs to be done going forward ?
But then again, many are also asking and seeking clarity on the way forward for Namibian football. Well, the answers are simple and all around us. Many are asking: “Are we as a country going to have two top leagues? What will the NPL’s relationship with the NFA be like? Where does this whole situation leave us with regards to Fifa? Will Fifa ban Namibia?
All those very vital questions can only be answered by ourselves as a collective and only we as a country can determine our future, not Fifa! Whether or not Namibia will have two top leagues is no longer up for debate because the NPL is here and the mission to professionalise local football has already started.
What is, however, still open for debate is whether or not the NFA and NPL leaderships are ready to put their egos aside and revisit the drawing board to find an amicable formula on how they can work together as two major stakeholders with a common future.
It is no secret, whether we want it or not – if Namibian football is to sufficiently function, a working relationship between the NPL and NFA must exist. Not only will it be to the benefit of the NPL, its member clubs and players, but to the NFA as
The NPL can only succeed in going fully professional with the technical assistance and cooperation from the NFA and therefore, a mutually-beneficial working relationship between the two entities must be pursued.
Failure to do so, will essentially mean Namibia will be grappling with two major leagues and that will automatically result in the NFA facing serious pressure from Fifa for having ‘allowed’ a top-tier league to operate outside its jurisdiction or with no formal working relationship with
If further left unchecked as a result of egos and pressure from outside forces, the NFA will face possible sanctions from Fifa and things could get worse until such a time NFA resolves its issues with the NPL – by either formalising their relationship or both parties going back to the drawing board altogether.
A Fifa ban for the NFA will be very catastrophic as that will result in the suspension of all forms of funding and that will further affect the entire supply chain of Football House (workers’ salaries, participation of national teams, development projects and paying municipal utilities; among others).
It is an acidic situation that leaves us all with Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin’s all-time historic question of “WHAT IS TO BE DONE?” Only the NPL and NFA leaderships can answer that very determining question.
Until next time, sharp sharp!!!