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Quo Vadis NPFL?

2021-02-19  Otniel Hembapu

Quo Vadis NPFL?

A few months ago, I was labelled a tribalist, a sellout and a biased journalist – to mention but a few of the countless insults that were hurled at my persona – all because I had insisted that the Namibia Football Association (NFA) starting the envisaged breakaway Namibia Premier Football League (NPFL) will be a grave misstep.

My argument was that expelling the Namibia Premier League (NPL) and wishing it away altogether will not be the lasting solution to the many problems facing local football. I had said – and again I repeat here, that the NFA and NPL reaching a compromise will be the only solution and way forward – and I still stand by that position as far as the return of local football action is concerned.

Not even political interference or Fifa interference can get football started again as soon as we all want, without the NFA and NPL realising that the issue is bigger than both institutions. Our football problems are deep-rooted and they all have to do with our failure as a country to have the right people in the right positions, our failure to have the right systems, processes, checks and balances in place to hold administrators accountable. But that is a topic I will expand further another day.

Today, I want to speak about the envisaged NFA’s Namibia Premier Football League, which was announced as the replacement for the banished NPL. Late last year, it was reported that the NPFL will kick off in January this year but that did not happen, and it was again reported that the NPFL will start this month (February) upon conclusion of the recently-ended 2021 African Nations Championship (Chan), where Namibia also participated – but again, that did also not happen.

Just a few weeks ago, for the umpteenth time now, the NFA announced that the NPFL kick off date had now been moved to 17 April. I have, in recent days, been bombarded with information from senior sources within Football House in Katutura that the leadership of the new NPFL is at loggerheads with the various chairmen of the clubs that joined the new league from the NPL.
The NPFL’s leadership, I’m told, is currently caught between a rock and a hard place – on the one hand dancing to the tunes of the NFA executive which feels that it is logistically too premature to kick off the new league – and on the other hand, trying so hard to please the unrealistic demands of the frustrated clubs. 

Truth be told, as much as we all thought and hoped the arrival of the NPFL would signal the return of domestic premiership football, what Namibians got in return is the total opposite of what we had all hoped for. In fact, after the expulsion of the NPL, what we, football-loving Namibians, got is more infights and little or rather no solutions at all.

It is my personal opinion and observation that the NPFL’s leadership appears to have no solutions nor capacity to resolve our football problems – and I’m saying this without any fear or contradiction. It also appears they (NPFL’s leadership) and its cartel, the disreputable Progressive Forces group, are more concerned about ‘taking over Football House’ and dishing out positions and international trips to each other as opposed to saving the livelihoods of hundreds of our stranded footballers.

If I’m a tribalist, a sellout and biased journalist for speaking the truth on behalf of those hundreds of stranded footballers, then so be it! But what I can comfortably say and assure all Namibians is that we were sold a raw deal by the NFA and its NPFL leadership; football is not going to start anytime soon because all those self-anointed ‘football gurus’ are busy fighting over money, positions and international trips. Until next time, sharp, sharp!!

2021-02-19  Otniel Hembapu

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