• February 26th, 2020

My relationship with Nestor is professional – Ekandjo …rubbishes allegations of nepotism

Maurice Kambukwe

WINDHOEK - MTC Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer Tim Ekandjo - who is the chief custodian of sponsorships at the gigantic local telecommunications entity – yesterday moved swiftly to squash swirling rumours and accusations of nepotism and outright preference when allotting sponsorships.
In a candid sit-down interview with New Era Sport yesterday, Ekandjo addressed head-on growing rumours and allegations accusing him of practicing blatant nepotism and meting out preferential treatment when it comes to apportioning million dollar sponsorship deals to various entities – especially those in the boxing fraternity.

 Innumerable letters have been making rounds on social media and some even anonymously send to media houses, are all accusing MTC and specifically Ekandjo of turning a blind eye to some boxing stables who frequent MTC with sponsorship requests, but is many a time quick to give to his preferred boxing promoters/stables without even shedding an ounce of sweat.

But in yesterday’s interview, an irate Ekandjo appeared to have grown tired of the allegations as leapt out of his shell to hit back at his detractors, saying MTC’s sponsorships are subject and bound to company policies coupled with a gruesome microscopic process of vetting and scrutinising the intended beneficiaries of such sponsorships.

“We have a sponsorship policy here at MTC, and many years ago, we only sponsored one boxing academy which is the MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing & Fitness Academy but we received a lot complains and people asking why is it only them [MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing & Fitness Academy]. We kept on explaining and people accused promoter Nestor Tobias and MTC of working in cohorts and me personally favoring Tobias and his academy. But we, as professionals and guided by our clear intentions, said we will still with Nestor Sunshine Boxing & Fitness Academy because these guys were and are still producing continental and world champions. And Nestor and his fighters have proven themselves over the years,” explained an uncomfortable Ekandjo.

He continued: “After years with the Tobias’ academy and after years of having help that academy produce multiple world and continental champions, MTC took a conscious decision to bring the Salute Boxing Academy of Kiriat Kamanya on board as a second recipient. And mind you, when we brought Salute on board we took the N$3.8 million sponsorship and split it half between Nestor and Salute boxing. Even Nestor himself, as the only beneficiary of MTC boxing sponsorship back then complaint about the splitting of the sponsorship between him and Salute, but we told him we want to accommodate another boxing stable and provide more opportunities for other boxers. But what happened when we brought in Salute, other promoters again came out and accused us of nepotism and favouring only a few boxing stables.”

MTC recently took a third boxing stable under its wings in the shape of northern-based Kilimanjaro Boxing Club and a three-year sponsorship of N$1.3 million was pumped into the operations of the club. 
The arrival of Kilimanjaro Boxing Club triggered the uproar of various promoters who feel felt out and unnoticed by MTC and Ekandjo, as head custodian of sponsorship at the telecommunications giant.

Many Windhoek-based promoters felt that they were more befitting for the N$1.3 million granted to Kilimanjaro Boxing Club, as their operations and international connections are ahead and sophisticated when compared to Kilimanjaro Boxing Club, which boast a majority of rural fighters.

“At a press conference [when the Kilimanjaro Boxing Club sponsorship was announced] they wanted to know what the criteria was and we told them it’s within our sponsorship policy. It’s not Tim that makes sponsorship decisions. We have an executive management team that makes all the decisions in consultation with our board of our directors. I might be the face of MTC but I don’t take decisions alone here. We take these decisions objectively and where we feel that a particular sponsorship will be a worthwhile return on investment,” he added.

On the perceived nepotism and preferential treatment, especially his relationship with promoter Nestor Tobias, which many aggrieved local promoters says is questionable and leaves a lot to be desired and potentially compromises MTC’s allocation of sponsorships, Ekandjo said the following: “Companies work differently. In other companies say there is your sponsorship and we expect our return on investment, but we here at MTC don’t do things that way. When we sponsor a boxing promotion, football league or whatever the case may be, we automatically become partners. When you as our sponsorship beneficiary have an event, we plan it together and execute it together. And my team is fully involved as there is nothing that is not transparent in our dealings. We as MTC and additionally me as Tim Ekandjo have a very healthy and professional relationship everyone we sponsor, that includes Nestor and Kamanya.”

“When Nestor and Kamanya plan their events they come to talk to us and we sit down and plan it together. That’s why you see every event we sponsor becomes a success because my team is fully involved in everything we do. We are again unapologetic about our relationship, especially with Nestor or anyone, because we believe that’s how we should do things. We do not have a personal relationship with people,” said Ekandjo as he fired is parting salvo. 

On his relationship with MTC and particularly Ekandjo, Tobias also spoke to this publication and dismissively said: “Irrespective of other promoters perception about me, the achievements our academy speaks for themselves and loudly so. My job is to promote boxing and not to entertain boxing politics that contribute nothing to Namibian boxing at the end of the day. The MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing & Fitness Academy has maintained and continue to maintain a heathy and professional relationship with MTC. We are very proud of what we have achieved together for Namibian boxing and setting world class standards for Namibian fighters, that’s all that matters to me.”

Staff Reporter
2019-07-10 10:11:29 | 7 months ago

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