Rukoro/Mbidi fracas crashes U/23 team Olympic dreams…team withdrawn from Olympic qualifiers
Otniel Hembapu and Maqonda Ndlovu
WINDHOEK – Namibia’s U/23 team yesterday became the first sacrificial lamb of the distressing endless fight between discarded Namibia Football Association (NFA) president Frans Mbidi and his secretary general Barry Rukoro.
The dreams and aspirations of the national U/23 team players were crashed yesterday when it was revealed the NFA had withdrawn the team from the ongoing 2020 Japan Olympic qualifiers due to lack of funds to send the team to Angola for their first leg tomorrow.
The second leg was scheduled for 20 November in Windhoek. Namibia’s withdrawal means South Africa will now progress to the third round of the competition.
Speaking to New Era Sport yesterday, Rukoro said NFA was left in a quandary as they had no funds to send the team to Angola for Friday’s clash despite Fifa having earlier availed money for national team activities.
“Yes Fifa availed money to the NFA to use for these matches (Brave Warriors, U/23 and U/20) and we had already forwarded the financial request more than a month ago but NFA president Frans Mbidi refused to sign for the release of the money so that we send the teams to their respective destinations for national duty. We are in this situation because he (Mbidi) refused to sign. Mbidi has been sitting on our application (for the release of funds) for more than a month now and today the boys are suffering.”
Speaking to Nampa separately, Rukoro also said the NFA could possibly face penalties from Fifa, which may include a fine or a ban or even both.
“Our funds are limited, we had to sacrifice the U/23 team’s trip to Angola for the Brave Warriors. We are busy assessing the Under-20 team’s participation at the Cosafa tournament in Zambia scheduled for December as well,” explained Rukoro.
Also approached for comment by New Era Sport, Mbidi refused to speak to this publication, point blankly telling this report that “I don’t have any comments for you guys” but he is however quoted in a Nampa report distancing himself from the withdrawal of the team due to his refusal to sign off the release of funds.
According to Nampa, Mbidi referred to the resolutions taken by the Exco on/in 17 August, which amongst other things removed Mbidi from the NFA presidency for various reasons.
The resolutions also included notifying stakeholders like banks and other service providers that Mbidi was persona non grata at the NFA.
“The Exco needs to reinstate me, they made a resolution to remove me as a signatory of the association, so how can I sign for these things after they removed me? The acting president can respond to you on why the Fifa funds cannot be accessed,” he said.
Mbidi further called on the Exco to reinstate him, saying Fifa will not release the funds as long as Rukoro is a signatory to any request from NFA.
“His contract expired on 21 March 2018. How is he making requests to Fifa when he is not recognised? The Exco has ignored Fifa and Government directives to reinstate me as president of the NFA,” said Mbidi.
He also cautioned the public from believing stories circulating on social and mainstream media, saying they have created a dangerous environment, which now sees certain individuals in the football fraternity being victimised.
“I can no longer walk in the streets freely as football members of the public now see me as a bad person and want to attack me. My integrity has been soiled by the current happenings at Football House,” Mbidi told Nampa.
NFA acting president Naftal Ngalangi said the Exco had complied with Fifa regarding Mbidi’s position and they are awaiting a response from the football mother body on the issue, while Chief Administrator of the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) Freddy Mwiya said they were following all developments closely and had given the NFA 21 days to sort out their mess and should nothing be resolved after the 21 days, the NSC will then be forced to intervene.
–Additional info: Nampa
2018-11-15 10:17:56 8 months ago