Instead of addressing the thorny issue of players’ outstanding appearance fees and the decaying state of local football, Franco Cosmos, the secretary general of the financially crippled Namibia Football Association (NFA), has again gone rowdy.
Cosmos, who is currently doubling as head of the NFA secretariat and executive, following the dismissal of the association’s executive committee members over the weekend, has his knife out for Brave Gladiators poster-girl Zenatha Coleman, who recently criticised the embattled FA leadership for not paying players’ wages.
In a recent outburst, an irate Coleman said it was high time for the NFA to start taking the plight of the various national players seriously, especially the women’s team.
She said it was unacceptable that players continue to play their lungs out for the country without receiving any wages.
The football association owes Brave Warriors, Brave Gladiators, girls U/17 and U/20 players for competing in different international and continental competitions this year.
At a press conference held in the capital on Sunday, a defensive Cosmos took issue with Coleman’s strong stance – and instead of indicating as to when the players will be paid and provide solutions to the rotting state of local football, he clumsily chose to gun for Coleman’s head, saying she will be disciplined for speaking truth to power.
“I don’t know why we are obsessed with them (Gladiators) not being paid… Brave Warriors played Senegal twice, Congo Brazzaville and then Togo. They are also not paid, while the U/20 ladies played two matches against Burundi, and the U/17 are in Lesotho for Region 5 Games – they are also not paid,” he said.
Cosmos added that the Gladiators played five games at the Cosafa Cup and two in the Afcon qualifiers against Tanzania, but due to infighting at the FA, donors have stopped their funding, and they are finding it hard to settle what is owed to those who represented the national teams.
“Zenatha (Coleman) is out of order, and she will be disciplined. She knows if there is an issue, there are channels to follow. For that matter, she is not the captain of the team anymore; that is why she is salty [sic]. All the players were told the association has no money, and they will be paid once the money is available,” he said.
Cosmos added that when Covid-19 lockdowns started, the NFA paid for Coleman’s flight tickets back home, “but she has not gone to social media to announce how her football club failed to come to her rescue”.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Coleman promised to respond to Cosmos after her morning training session, but had still not returned the call at the time of going to print.
Football House crumbling
The leaderless NFA Football House in Katutura is a house at war with itself. Not only is the association facing a deep financial crisis, but it is also battling with a leadership calamity. Its president Ranga Haikali was at some point suspended over a string of allegations, but Fifa wrote to the FA and instructed them to put Haikali’s suspension aside, as it was illegal.
Following Fifa’s directive to reinstate Haikali, the divided NFA executive committee then moved to deliberately side-line Haikali from all its deliberations and decisions.
The weekend’s dismissal of the entire executive was the final blow to Haikali’s presidency, and it now remains to be seen if Caf or Fifa will intervene in the reeking affairs of the troubled Football House or if Namibia will probably face sanctions.