• October 19th, 2019

Standing up for our football

It was great to see this week both the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and sports minister Erastus Uutoni finally laying down the law on the dangerous happenings at the Namibia Football Association (NFA), whose bosses have been persistently in the news for all the wrong reasons imaginable.

For far too long, Football House has been a law unto itself and an enrichment scheme for some of its custodians, at the expense of all other stakeholders.

The football body, in its entirety, has for a long time now become a turf of personal battles between its president Frans Mbidi and secretary-general Barry Rukoro.

Caught up in the crossfire of the two men is everyone else, including football itself. The instability at the NFA, on the eve of Namibia’s potential qualification for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon, can shutter our nation’s dreams.
The ferocious struggle for supremacy between the two adversaries and their henchmen, who ask ‘how high’ when asked to jump, has no benefit to football in generality – irrespective of who the last man standing would be.
We can no longer watch on as our football is being dragged into the mud by two individuals, irrespective of who the perpetrator and the innocent is.

NFA is a public institution – funded by the taxpayer - and not an kitchen of either Mbidi or Rukoro for them to do as they please with it. 

Although we had hoped both Minister Uutoni and the NSC would react much, much earlier when the beef was still in its formative stage, it still restores a bit of faith to see that they have eventually came out of their comfort zones.
That said, it still remains sad that world football governing body Fifa had overtaken both Uutoni and NSC in calling NFA to order. We must own our own affairs and be the first to crack the whip, instead of reacting to what concerned outside observers had to say.

But it is better late than never, as the say goes, and the nation has a bit of faith now that sanity would return to NFA, which is tasked with a serious mandate to take Namibian football globally.

Namibians are dreamers. After winning the Cosafa Cup three years ago, we want to qualify for 2019 AFCON and be real contenders there, rather than pretenders.

Ultimately, we want to qualify for the Fifa World Cup and produce magic like Senegal did in 2002 against holders France.
The aftermath of any performance like that is local footballers getting snapped up by the likes of Liverpool, like they did with Senegal’s El-Hadji Diouf in 2002. Ultimately, this means creating millionaire footballers for our country who, in all likelihood, would invest in the domestic economy and provide jobs to our people.

Football, when handled with love and care like a baby, is more than just whistles and balls rolling on the green pitch or artificial turf. Elsewhere in the world, it is a multi-billion sport that has lifted nations out of poverty and despair.
We can’t allow two men to stand in our way to turn this dream into a reality. 

New Era Reporter
2018-11-09 09:22:11 | 11 months ago

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